TURLOCK, Calif. - The Leo Gibson coaching era got off to a disappointing start Friday night as the Cal Express claimed a 6-5 overtime win at the Turlock Indoor Stadium in the first Major Arena Soccer League game this season for each team.
The Comets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Turlock answered with a 3-0 run to regain momentum.
The Comets were plagued by penalties throughout the game. Ultimately, it was a power play in overtime that gave the Express the game-winner.
Gui Gomes scored the first goal of the season for the Comets, poking in a ricochet off a Kiel Williams shot. Immediately off the kickoff, a pressing Comets defense saw Lucas Rodriguez intercept a pass meant for the goalie and dribble it in for a second score.
The Cal Express cut the lead in half with a set piece goal not long after. Adrian Gutierrez poked one through a faulty wall off a penalty kick.
At the end of the first quarter, the referee issued double blue cards to an Express defender and Adam James for tangling well off ball. That left both teams down to four men the remainder of the first quarter and the start of the second.
The Express struck first in the second quarter as Adrian Pulido tapped the ball past Steven Hamersky from point-blank distance.
A wide open Jorge Carmona then scored off a Matt Germain assist.
Comets captain John Sosa played give-and-go with James and tied the game at 3-all.
Williams then picked up a blue card and Gerardo Jurardo beat Hamersky near post from the right corner for the go-ahead goal just before the half.
The Comets would score the only goal of the second half, and it was an impressive individual effort by James during a Turlock power play.
Turlock and Kansas City traded opportunities throughout the remainder of the second half, including set-piece plays deep in the attacking end in the final two minutes. Both keepers came up big, forcing overtime.
The Comets took the first two shots in overtime but could not find the back of the net.
The Comets accidentally fielded an extra man in the overtime period, drawing a two-minute man disadvantage.
Gonzalez blasted the game-winner past Hamersky from the top of the key.