Kansas City Comets player/coach Leo Gibson felt like he was sitting on a keg of dynamite as his squad took the field in the fourth quarter Saturday night against the defending Major Arena Soccer League champion Milwaukee Wave.
Dynamic forward Ian Bennett, who has had so much success in the past against the Comets, had not found the back of the net and the Wave led 3-2 going into the final period.
That’s when Bennett scored two goals, teammate Alex Bradley completed his hat trick and the Wave put five points on the board to claim an 8-3 victory.
It was the 3-5 Comets’ first loss at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena this season as the 6-1 Wave remained undefeated on the road.
“They are so experienced and have so much firepower,” said Gibson, who scored two goals in the loss, “and they capitalize on every mistake. If you are vulnerable in any area they will exploit it.”
A self-inflicted wound put the Comets down six minutes into the game, when too many men on the field resulted in a power play for the Wave. Luan Oliveira found a gap in the Kansas City defense and grooved his shot inside the far post to score the opening goal.
Rookie goalkeeper Lou Misner was in the net again for the Comets as starter Mark Saxby is still rehabbing a foot injury.
The Comets tied it when Gibson collected the ball near Milwaukee goalkeeper Rafael Dias and scored an unassisted goal, much to the delight of the boisterous crowd of nearly 5,100.
But Milwaukee took a quick 2-1 lead as Bradley scored his first goal of the night.
With 17 seconds left in the half, Nacho Flores was sent off for two minutes for making contact above the shoulders, giving Milwaukee its second power play.
The Wave patiently moved the ball around up a man to start the second half, and with the power play winding down, Angel Curiel beat Misner far post for a goal.
Seconds later, Robert Palmer assisted Stefan Stokic, who had snuck behind the Milwaukee defense, netting his first score of the season to make it 3-2.
That was the score heading into the fourth period, which was dominated by the Wave. Bradley scored two goals seconds apart to put Milwaukee ahead 5-2. With Matt Lewis in as sixth attacker, the Wave extended their lead to 6-2 on a Bennett goal just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.
Gibson got one back, scoring an unassisted goal to cut the deficit to three with under three minutes left.
But Bennett added a second goal and a late empty-netter by Isaac Pereyra accounted for the final score.
“It’s kind of crazy, we respect them a lot and we try to keep it close and once they start going to the sixth attacker it’s like we go crazy,” Bennett said. “We’re killers – like dogs. We just want to fill up the net with goals.
“They are such a great team and we know it’s going to be crazy every time we come here. They have great fans, it’s loud and a great atmosphere and we were able to find a way to get this big win tonight.’