ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Kansas City Comets first-year player/coach Leo Gibson has never questioned his team’s heart or work ethic.
But the Comets’ all-time leading scorer is hoping to see more consistency from his squad, especially following Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss to the host St. Louis Ambush at Family Arena.
“We do so many good things, then we make a mistake and it costs us, like it did tonight,” Gibson said by phone following the game. “Consistency – that is what we need. Consistency is so impactful in this game.
“From beginning to end, I am looking for more consistency the rest of this season.”
The Ambush now lead the in-state rivalry series 2-1 with two wins at home while the Comets claimed a victory earlier this season at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Kansas City dropped to 3-4 on the season while the 4-4 Ambush have won their last four games.
St. Louis scored two quick goals in the opening three minutes to take control early in the Major Arena Soccer League New Year’s Eve contest. They grabbed a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Ray Saari and Gibson.
But the Ambush responded with two quick goals to knot the score.
Kansas City regained the lead in the final minute of the quarter. A Gibson shot bounced off the boards to Robert Palmer, who played a high ball to Saari. He volleyed it back to Palmer, who scored.
St. Louis’ third goal was the result of some sloppy defense by the Comets. The Comets failed to clear their end after some errant Ambush shots, leaving the pressure on rookie goalkeeper Lou Misner. With three Comets on the ground in the box, Pablo Da Silva scored from point-blank range to tie it 3-3.
Midway through the second quarter, Robert Kelly was sent off for two minutes for tripping. The infringement also gave the Ambush a penalty kick, which Misner saved.
Seconds before the power play ended, the Comets ran short on defenders deep in their own end, and Douglas Dos Santos teed off from the corner to put the Ambush up 4-3 going into the intermission.
The Ambush extended the lead six minutes into the second half. Former Comet Stefan St. Louis sent an assist across the box to Tony Walls for his third goal of the night to make it 5-3.
Some acrobatic goalkeeping and frantic scramble defense by both teams kept the rest of the third quarter and the first four minutes of the final period scoreless.
The Comets were then awarded a freekick just outside the St. Louis box. Gibson snuck a shot past the wall, over the carpet and into the back of the net to cut the deficit to one at 5-4.
St. Louis extended the lead again when another former Comet, Andre Braithwaite, banked a shot off the near post and into the net. With six minutes to play, the Comets trailed 6-4.
With the sixth attacker on for the Comets, a one-touch shot from Dos Santos from midfield caught Kansas City off guard and put the Ambush up three goals in the final four minutes.
“Those are the things that hurt. That is what I am talking about when I talk about consistency,” Gibson said.
The Comets refused to go away, however, and scored a pair of goals – by Gibson and Ignacio Flores – in a span of 30 seconds, making for a tight final two minutes of play, but the Comets could not come up with the equalizer.