A haggard Kim Roentved walked out of the Kansas City Comets locker room, looking like a man who had just watched his best friend run off with his wife while running over his pet dog in the process.
For one half, he had watched a crisp performance by his team as they held a 2-0 halftime lead over the Orlando Seawolves Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
But that solid first half performance disappeared in an error-filled 30 minutes as Orlando roared back in the second half to claim a 6-4 victory in the Major Arena Soccer League South Central Division matchup.
“Individual mistakes,” Roentved said, looking to the heavens as if he was seeking an answer, “have you ever seen so many individual mistakes? I honestly believe I saw more individual mistakes tonight than I have all season.
“You don’t make mistakes like we made tonight at this point of the season. We are in a battle for the playoffs, for the big dance, and we are going to hurt our chances if we play another game like this.”
The Mavericks fell to 9-8, while Orlando improved to 7-8, just a game behind Roentved’s team for the second and final postseason spot from the South Central Division.
Mark Saxby, who faced 29 shots on goal, made the game a nail-biter as he stopped three different breakaway scoring attempts by the Seawolves.
“Mark was outstanding, he just didn’t have much help,” Roentved said. “How many three-on-one and two-on-one attempts did they have tonight? Too many! We leave goal scorers alone, they score from nine-miles out – it’s just all so frustrating.”
The Comets led 2-0 going into halftime on a slick header by Leo Gibson and a Kevin Ellis goal.
But Orlando’s Richard Scherdmer, who would finish with a hat trick and four points, put his team on his back. He scored back-to-back goals at 2:08 and 3:40 in the second period to tie it, but Ramone Palmer scored a shorthanded goal at 14:49 to give the Comets a 3-2 lead going into the final quarter.
Former Comet Neto scored at 4:08 to tie the game, but James Togbah gave the Comets a 4-3 lead at 7:43.
Just 13 seconds later, Scherdmer found Gordy Gerson alone in front of the net and he tapped in the game-tying fourth goal.
Scherdmer’s third goal made it 5-4 and a sixth-attacker goal by Bobby Hurwitz in the final minute accounted for the final margin.
“You have games like this, but you don’t want to have them at this time of the season,” Gibson said. “We play in Baltimore Sunday, and it will be good for all of us to play that quickly so we can forget about this game.”
Sunday’s game will be televised on KMCI (38 The Spot).