Baltimore had a blast at the Independence Events Center Sunday afternoon, claiming an 18-4 victory, but the Missouri Comets still had something to be happy about.
The Blast showed a crowd of 4,204 fans why they are the No. 1-rated defensive team in the MISL, but a Rochester loss earlier in the day secured the fourth consecutive postseason berth for coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 9-6 Comets.
“There are many things you can learn from a game like this, and we’re going to the videos to see what we did wrong,” Andonovski said after the second-place Blast improved to 13-3 on the season in their lone visit to Independence. “We will find out the mistakes we made and do our best to correct them.
“If we play a team like Pennsylvania (an expansion team that will bring its 1-11 record to the Events Center Friday night) we can get away with some mistakes, but against a very good team like Baltimore, you cannot make the mistakes we made today.”
When asked about backing into the playoffs thanks to the Rochester loss, Andonovski said, “We are going to the playoffs because we have had a successful season.
“No one wants to have another team’s loss allow your team to make the playoffs, but that’s what happened today. I wish we would have won. The players wish we would have won, and I am sure the fans wish we would have won.
“That is why we are going to work so hard at practice, to make sure a game like this doesn’t happen again. There is a good chance we will see Baltimore in the playoffs and every player in that locker room knows we have to do a better job – a much better job – than we did today.”
The rematch of last season’s championship series got out of hand early as the Blast took an early 3-0 lead on a goal by Lucio Gonzaga. Baltimore took a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime and built it to 14-2 going into the final 15 minutes.
“We know we are a better team than we showed today,” Comets midfielder John Sosa said. “This is a tough loss to swallow. If we don’t learn something from this game, something that will help us in the playoffs, then it is a total waste.
“When the loss of another team hands you a spot in the playoffs, you are disappointed because you want to earn that playoff spot yourself. We are in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, and this year, we want to bring home the championship.
“But to do that, we have to play much, much better than we did tonight.”
The Comets were without team captain and MISL scoring leader Vahid Assadpour, who suffered a lower body injury at practice last week.
“I’ll be fine, and will definitely be back for the playoffs,” said Assadpour, who watched the game from the Comets bench. “This was a bad loss, and it shows what a great team Baltimore has.
“Their goalkeeper (William Vanzela) was amazing today. He has a 5.2 goals-against average, and after watching him today, you can see why. He made stops you couldn’t believe.
“We had our scoring chances, especially early in the game. I think the boys played better than the score indicates, but it’s still a tough loss to take, especially at home.”