The Kansas City Comets hit the road tonight, traveling to Milwaukee to face the undefeated Wave in a 7:05 p.m. game that gives coach Kim Roentved’s team a chance for redemption.
The Wave edged the Comets 7-4 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena back on Nov. 12.
The Comets have not played since that loss to the Wave, so Roentved and Co., are ready to hit the turf this weekend as Kansas City returns home to play host to the Cedar Rapids Rampage at 5:05 p.m. Sunday in Major Arena Soccer League action.
“We played pretty good in those first two games,” said Roentved, as his team takes a 1-1 record to Milwaukee, “and we did it without a lot of time in practice. Now we’ve had a couple more weeks to train and the boys are putting it together.”
Fan favorite Leo Gibson, who has added the responsibility of being an assistant coach this season, agrees with Roentved.
“We started the season with just a few practices and no exhibition games,” Gibson said, “and while we would have enjoyed playing, we have had the opportunity to practice and become closer as a team. We have so many new players this year, it is important to practice and become familiar with our new teammates.”
Adding to Roentved’s confidence is the likely return of two key veterans to the lineup – Kiel Williams, who missed the first two games due to injury, and Milan Ivanovic, who came out of retirement and signed a new contract Thursday.
“I’m happy to be back in Kansas City,” Ivanovic said. “I loved being home, but this place is home too. I’m excited to play for Kim again and to help the Comets and the young soccer players from across the metro.”
Joining Ivanovic on the roster are a pair of rookies from FC Wichita of the National Premier Soccer League, defender James Togbah and goalkeeper Steven Hamersky.
Togbah and Hamersky have played the past few seasons for former Comets player and current FC Wichita assistant coach Jamie Harding. They add depth to the Comets roster and are expected to be available this weekend.
“It’s like I said early in the season, we are a work in progress, this is not our complete team, our complete roster,” Roentved said. “I can promise you that the fans are going to grow to love the players on this team because they play hard, they play the game the way it should be played.”
The 4-0 Wave are one of three teams still undefeated in the MASL, including that win against the Comets in early November. They are led offensively by Ian Bennett and Max Ferdinand, who have combined for 12 goals and nine assists this season.
The 2-3 Rampage started off the season with three straight losses on the road, but have won their last two home games.