Upset comets in the preseason exhibit: here’s what we learned

The Kansas City Comets hosted the Omaha Kings of MASL2 at Cable Dahmer Arena for a preseason show on Saturday night. Things didn’t go as planned as the Comets played from behind for much of the night and ultimately fell in overtime by a final score of 5-4.

The Kansas City roster was led by Mirko Sandivari and included seven players who hadn’t played last season and 11 comebacks from last season, including player / coach Leo Gibson. Former comet Stefan Stokic has returned to the sidelines as bench coach. There were 13 players who were listed last year who did not play in the show, including Kevin Ellis, John Sosa and Nicolau Neto.

Defenseman Morgan Penn opened the scoring for the visitors with 5:22 left in the first quarter. The Comets equalized 38 seconds later when midfielder Lesia Thetsane, one of the new faces, won the ball and sent it to the top shelf.

Midfielder Pedro Augusto put Omaha back in the lead before Comets return Felipe Abreu scored to tie things 2-2 with a high shot in the first minute of the second quarter. The Kings finally took a 3-2 halftime lead after midfielder Sebastian Contreras scored straight from a restart at the top of the arc with a formidable finish in the top corner halfway through the second quarter.

The Comets tied with 6:42 left in the third quarter when the two loaned players bonded when Mike DaSilva turned James Togbah’s shot. Omaha took the lead for the fourth time with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter with a goal from captain Ali Sodal. Once again the Comets responded with a goal, this time it was returner Rian Marques scoring with the sixth forward with 2:21 left in regulation to force overtime.

Less than two minutes into overtime, the Kings snatched the golden goal with a shorthanded goal from midfielder Bobby Jaffrey. With a free kick inside their defensive third, the ball was sent to Jaffrey, who was able to put his head in, recover the rebound on the touchboard and chip the keeper.

The Comets will resume training ahead of the 2021/22 regular season, which is scheduled to begin in late November.

Here’s what we learned from the Saturday show.

The new guys

Of the seven new guys, the only one Comets fans know is Odaine Sinclair. Sinclair has been playing indoor soccer for some time now and has already spent three seasons with the Comets but did not play last year.

Other new players included a pair of former Park University players in Jacob Garza and Ronaldo De Godoi as well as Lesia Thetsane from Columbia College and Christian Anderaos from UMKC. Others included Eduardo “Lalo” Alonso and Sammy Pama.

Comets head coach Leo Gibson explained that these are guys he’s been getting calls for and are still trying to make the squad with open tries coming in September. They trained with the team three times a week.

Lesson learned

Barely coming off a spot in the Ron Newman Cup championship, the Comets came in as big favorites on Saturday against a Kings team that failed to advance to the M2 playoffs.

Gibson said he planned to play a solid roster in the first quarter and let the new guys get more time in the final three quarters. With a close game throughout, the new guys didn’t see as much action as they expected.

“We really wanted to take a look at the guys. Our plan was to let them play at least three quarters of the game, and then it took a different turn. But we still had to take a look and see what they can offer.

2021 Loan Updates

The Comets had three guys on loan last season from absent teams with Mike DaSilva (Baltimore Blast), James Togbah (Utica City FC) and Dominic Francis (Harrisburg Heat). DaSilva and Togbah both performed in the show on Saturday. While not in a position to comment much on the matter, Gibson has confirmed that players on loan from last year are not expected to return to KC this year as they are still under contract with their previous teams. DaSilva and Togbah were allowed to play in this exhibition by their teams.

More context on the loss

This loss does not mean that the Comets will be bad. There is much more to the story.

It was KC’s first game since early April as Omaha last played in late June. Many Comets players are still returning to indoor play after playing away during the summer.

With plenty of key pieces missing, most of them should come back to give KC a good shot at making the playoffs. Loan players aside, it looks like the Comets will be returning close to all of the players from last season.

Offensive powerhouse struggles continue

The Comets did well in killing three power plays defensively, however, they failed to convert on any of their five power plays offensively. Worse yet, they left the goal in overtime with a power play. He continues the theme of last season when the Comets scored on nine of 24 power-play chances.

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