Kim Roentved doesn’t even try to hide his excitement as his Kansas City Comets take on the rival Milwaukee Wave in the Major Arena Soccer League season opener for each team.

The Comets kick off their ninth season by facing the Wave at 6:05 p.m. Saturday at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

“I have been so eager to see how the boys would do once the season started,” Roentved said, “and what better way to start than against one of your biggest rivals?’

This is the third time the Comets have opened the season against the Wave, including the team’s first game in 2010.

This will be the 33rd regular-season match between the two teams. Kansas City lost all four matches to Milwaukee last season, dropping the team to a 15-17 overall record against the Wave.

The teams’ last bout took place on Dec. 31, 2017, at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. After falling behind 4-1, the Comets mounted a furious comeback, but two late goals from Milwaukee’s Ian Bennett and Jonatan Santos were too much for Kansas City to overcome.

While Milwaukee returns most of their lineup from last season, including leading scorer Bennett and forward Max Ferdinand, the Comets come into the new campaign with renewed hope after struggling to a 7-15 record last season, including a 5-6 home mark.

This has been an interesting preseason for Roentved and his team as the Comets’ new ownership group brought back four players – John Sosa, Robert Palmer, Ramone Palmer and Alain Matingou – who had been dealt by previous team management.

“That was huge,” Roentved said, “because those players were impact players. It is wonderful to get them back, along with getting Brett (Petricek) in goal. We are a much better team than we were last season. We owe our fans a very good season because we did not perform up to our expectations last year.”

All four players were part of the 2014 MISL championship squad.

The Comets played one exhibition game in the preseason camp, edging St. Louis 4-3 last week at the Ambush’s practice facility.

“That game is quite misleading, because we played 20 players to see where we were as a team,” Roentved said. “We got down early and managed to come back and get a win, but it was more important to watch the boys and see which players complemented other players out on the field.

“Then we returned to practice and it was awful. But it was awful in a good way, because I am hoping we got all our mistakes, hitting the posts with shots – all that bad stuff – out of our systems before the opener in Milwaukee Saturday.”

The Comets, after a game at Mississauga on Dec. 13, will open their home schedule on Dec. 15 when they play host to the Wave at SEC Arena.