Brian Harris certainly knows how to charm his longtime girlfriend, Christiana McQuin.
The Missouri Comets defender and McQuin celebrated their fourth anniversary Saturday and Harris promised her a special gift.
“I told her I'd score four goals – which is pretty hard to do, and I was kind of kidding – but I told her I'd try and what do you know? I went out and did it,” said Harris, who had a monster night at the Independence Events Center as he led the 4-0 Comets to a 13-3 rout of the Wichita B-52s.
When he scored his fourth goal – drilling a long-range shot past his former Comets teammate and Wichita goalkeeper Boris Prado – Harris turned to McQuin in the stands, held up four fingers and blew her a kiss.
“He better still take me out to dinner Sunday, because he promised me that, too,” quipped McQuin, who was thrilled with Harris' performance.
While Harris turned in a performance for the ages, there was a scary moment when he had to leave the field to receive medical attention.
Early in the second period he was slammed headfirst into the protective glass by another former teammate, Byron Alvarez.
“I watched him closely after that happened because I wanted to make sure he was OK,” McQuin said. “He looked fine – in fact, he looked great. He made this a special night for both of us.”
When Harris returned to the field, he was sporting a shiner, a bandage that was wrapped around his head and a cut above his left eye that had been glued shut.
“I think that incident motivated Brian,” Comets teammate Vahid Assadpour said. “He was not very happy when he came back to the field, and he took it out on Wichita by scoring more goals.”
Coach Vlatko Andonovski agreed, adding, “You do not want to do anything to motivate Brian Harris, because he might be the most motivated guy on the team already.
“When he was slammed into the glass, you knew he was going to take it personally and he would see it as a challenge. He was amazing, tonight, but all the boys were amazing.”
Andonovski praised the team's quick start against the B-52s (1-3).
“We got off to a great start (6-0 lead midway through the second quarter), and Danny turned in a typical Danny Waltman performance in the net,” the Comets coach said. “After holding on for a 9-7 win last week against Milwaukee, we started off the game in good shape tonight with the 6-0 lead and just kept adding to it. We are a new team in a new league, and we are playing so well right now.
“And that's important, because as the season goes on, the games are going to get bigger and more important.”
Not surprisingly, the postgame autograph lines for Harris and Waltman wrapped around the Events Center field.
“Oh, you got Brian's autograph – that’s good,” Waltman said to a giggling young girl, who wanted a picture with him after he signed her program. “How many goals did Brian score tonight?”
She quickly answered, “Four.”
Waltman smiled, gave her a high-five and said, “You were paying attention. You're a great fan.”
Waltman continued to sign autographs long after the mandatory signing session was over, even thanking an usher for allowing the young fans to follow him to the locker room.
“I look around our locker room and every guy I see is a top-two player in this league, or the best at his position,” Waltman said. “It's exciting to think what this team might do this year. We won it all last year (in the final year of the MISL), and we're going to have a lot of success this year, especially if Brian scores four goals every game.”
Andre Braithwaite scored the Comets’ first goal, opening the offensive floodgates early in the first period.
Moments later, Harris blasted a rocket from outside the box to the top left corner and made it 2-0. The Comets came out stronger in the second quarter, scoring four straight goals before Wichita's Daniel Sack finally slipped the ball past Waltman.
Coady Andrews and Bryan Perez scored and Max Touloute added two goals to make the score 6-1 at halftime. Harris scored two more times and Perez added his second goal to make it 9-1.
Two goals by Leo Gibson and goals by Harris and Andre Braithwaite closed out the scoring for the Comets, who head to Virginia next Saturday to play the Harrisburg Heat at 7 p.m.
“We have to do our best to keep this winning streak alive early in the season,” Assadpour said. “Right now, we are playing some great soccer, and I think it is a carryover from last year's championship season.
“We have defeated two very good teams (Dallas and Chicago) on the road and have wins over Milwaukee and Wichita at home. Now, we have to go out and play a great road game next Saturday and try our best to win our fifth in a row.”