At first glance, the Kansas City Comets 2019-20 roster might seem a bit goalkeeper heavy.
But there’s a reason for that. Starter Mark Saxby, who came on so strong at the end of last season, has been suspended for the first three games this season for actions resulting from the April 20, 2019, playoff loss to Milwaukee.
With Saxby on the sidelines, the team signed Steven Hamersky, who has seen limited action with the Comets in the past as he is a law enforcement officer in Wichita, Kansas
Hamersky will get the start tonight when the Comets open Major Arena Soccer League regular season play at 9:05 (CST) against the Cal Express in Turlock, Calif.
Other goalies on the roster are newcomer Lou Misner, who came to the team through open tryouts, and Nicolau Neto, whose contract is pending visa approval.
Other members of the team are defenders John Sosa, Ignacio Flores, Mirko Sandivari, Robert Palmer, Matt Lewis, Stefan Stokic, Robert Kelly, Ray Lee; midfielders Lucas Rodriguez, Ramone Palmer, Lucas Sousa, Hector Solorio Villalpando, Ray Saari, Kiel Williams; and forwards Adam James, Leo Gibson and Gui Gomes.
Each MASL team is restricted to 26 registered players. On game days, rosters will be limited to an active roster of 14 field players and up to two goalkeepers.
This will be Leo Gibson’s first season as a player/head coach, as he was an assistant coach last season to head coach Kim Roentved. Gibson is the Comets’ all-time leader in goals and assists.
The explosive forward will be joined by veteran midfielders Lucas Rodriguez and Kiel Williams. John Sosa will join anchor the defense along with Robert Kelly, who is earning a start in his third MASL appearance.
The season opener marks the first matchup between Kansas City and Turlock. The Express and Comets have been in the MASL since 2014-15, but they’ve never been in the same division, met in the playoffs or faced off in interdivisional play.
The Express are coming off a 3-21 campaign, finishing last in the Pacific, while the Comets finished 13-11 last season, good for second in the South Central, falling to eventual Ron Newman Cup winners Milwaukee in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Comets immediately return home after Friday’s match to prepare for the Nov. 30 home opener against the rival St. Louis Ambush at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.