Kim Roentved’s Kansas City Comets may not be enjoying the type of success the legendary coach is accustomed to, but it has not kept him from losing his prickly sense of humor.
He watched his team overcome an early 6-0 deficit Saturday night in St. Louis and rebound for a dramatic 11-9 victory over the host Ambush as Kiel Williams scored five goals and assistant coach Leo Gibson added five assists for the 3-8 Comets.
When asked what he was thinking after his team trailed 6-1 going into the second quarter, he simply said, “Suicide – knocking on heaven’s door – all those pleasant thoughts.
“I didn’t know what to think. I just knew we were better than we had played that first quarter and I needed to let the boys know that I believed in them more than possibly they believed in themselves.
“Maybe I need to work on a better pregame speech, or light something up and put it under their tails when they leave the locker room to start the game. We can’t keep starting games trailing by three, four, five or six goals.”
Trailing 6-0, Pat Kelly was able to get the Comets on the board with 8 seconds left in the first quarter, and Roentved said that goal might have been a game changer.
“A huge, huge goal by Pat,” the coach said. “We needed something positive in the first quarter, and that was it.”
The Comets added four second-quarter goals and trailed just 7-5 as they picked up their defensive presence in the second period.
“A night-and-day difference, both offensively and defensively,” Roentved said. “At the half, we were a confident team. I had faith in them and they had faith in themselves.”
Williams scored his second and third goals of the match in the first three minutes of the third quarter and Bryan Perez added his second goal, and suddenly the Comets had an 8-7 lead.
“Once we got that lead, I knew the boys were not going to give in,” Roentved said. “St. Louis players began to hang their heads when we were making our comeback. I’ve been there, I know that feeling, and it is hard to come back when a team is playing as well as we were the second half.”
The Ambush did take a quick 9-8 lead in the fourth quarter but Williams’ fourth goal knotted the score at 9-all at 7:38.
With less than two minutes to play, each team tried to pressure the other into a game-ending mistake. The Comets forced St. Louis to play the ball out of its own end with just over a minute left. An Ambush defender misplayed his pass to his goalkeeper and Williams was there to tap in the game-winner. Anthony Grant added a goal against an Ambush sixth attacker for the Comets’ final score.
“We’re getting to where I want this team to be,” Roentved said. “If I thought the rest of this season would be like that first quarter I’d toss in the towel and prepare for next season, but I see glimpses of how good we can be. We just need to play solid soccer for four quarters.”
Casey Gasson was in the net for the Comets and won his third game of the season.