Comets Falter in Second Half, Lose to Orlando
KANSAS CITY - In a tale of two halves, the Kansas City Comets fell to the Orlando SeaWolves 4-6. In a low scoring first half, Kansas City controlled the tempo but was overcome by Orlando's second half surge. This South Central division match-up was not only a crushing home defeat, but was crucial in terms of playoff spots.
The Comets started the game with intricate ball movement and strong attacking forces. A foul on Orlando gave the Comets a free kick just inside the offensive third. John Sosa, the Comets' go-to restart coordinator, found Nacho Flores near the top of the arc. Flores' shot bounced off the glass just over the crossbar and into the path of Leo Gibson who headed the ball past Piotr Sliwa.
The SeaWolves had no shortage of chances either. Orlando's seven shots were not able to get past Kansas City's fluid defense or steady goalkeeper, Mark Saxby. Though the first quarter was relatively low scoring, fans witnessed a great show of skills and passing sequences.
Early in the second quarter, Sliwa kept Kansas City's Kevin Ellis from scoring multiple shot attempts, maintaining the Comet's one goal lead. The SeaWolves also had a few near goals, but Saxby sprung diving saves to keep the ball out of the net.
Although the SeaWolves had more success possessing the ball in the offensive third, the Comets were able to attack through fast breaks and stretching the field. Defense for both teams was similar in the physical and blocking nature.
After a mistaken pass from Orlando, Gui Gomes found himself on a one-on-one breakaway against Silwa. Surprisingly, Silwa was able to make the save and the ball bounced to the Comets' Ellis. Ellis took two touches toward the goal, faked a shot, and rocketed the ball across his body and into the net. Kansas City gained the 2-0 lead just before halftime.
Orlando started the second half on the attack. It was clear that Richard Schmermund had been practicing his free kicks the past week. Both of his rocket, restart goals occurred in a two-minute span and brought the SeaWolves equal to the Comets.
Kansas City showed off their penalty kill specialty after Mirko Sandivari found himself in the penalty box. The tension rose in the arena as physicality increased between the two teams.
Next on the book were Gibson and Gomes as they received back-to-back yellow cards. Gomes' included a blue card penalty in which the Comets' Ramone Palmer scored his first shorthanded goal this year. Kansas City was also successfully able to kill off this penalty without a goal from Orlando.
The SeaWolves out shot Kansas City 12-1 in the third quarter and came out roaring for the fourth. Elmo Neto found the back of the net with the assist from Kevin Naranjo. However, Kansas City responded quickly to regain the lead. James Togbah showed off his speed as he weaved around three Orlando defenders to put the ball in the lower corner of the goal.
Shortly after, the SeaWolves struck again as Schmermund found Gordy Gurson for another restart goal. This was Gurson's 23 goal of the season and tied the game at four a piece.
With less than four minutes left in the game, Schmermund completed his hat trick off another free kick goal. Orlando gained their first lead of the game and left the Comets scrambling. The SeaWolves were able to exploit Kansas City's sixth attacker as Bobby Hurwitz nailed the coffin shut. Eduardo Cruz assisted the final goal.
The Comets will look to regain the upper hand during their road game. They head East to "charm city" to face off against the Baltimore Blast on Sunday. The match will be streamed live on MASLtv and shown locally on KMCI-TV, 38 The Spot.
MASL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Comets vs Orlando SeaWolves
Date: March 8, 2019
Venue: Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, Independence, MO
Kickoff: 7:38 p.m. CT / 8:38 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 3 4 F
Kansas City Comets 1 1 1 1 1
Orlando SeaWolves 0 0 2 4 6
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