At the beginning of the season, Kansas City Comets forward Kevin Ellis wasn’t sure if he was going to play.
He missed the first eight games before it took someone close to him to start playing again.
“I had a lot of fun last year, but truth be told, when I told my daughter that I wasn’t going to play, she started crying,” Ellis said. “She wanted to come to the games and watch me play, so it made it a no-brainer.
“She’s so happy, although I think her favorite players are Leo (Gibson) and (John) Sosa.”
Ellis, who played for the Comets last season, has been a huge addition to as he spent eight years in the Major Soccer League before coming to the Comets and the Major Arena Soccer League. He showed why as he scored two goals in a 10-6 victory over the St. Louis Ambush Sunday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Ellis signed with Sporting Kansas City on a homegrown player contract after spending two seasons at Barton Community College. He earned a spot on the roster after attending a combine in 2010. He also spent time playing for the MLS’s Orlando City and the United Soccer League’s Oklahoma City Energy and Swope Park Rangers during that period before being waived by Sporting Kansas City in 2017.
He then played for the Chicago Fire and D.C. United of MLS in 2018 but was released by both teams. The 28-year-old then made his way to the Comets and signed with them last year.
“I got the choice if I wanted to continue to play or spend a little more time with my family,” Ellis said. “I made that choice and the Comets gave me the opportunity to compete a little bit and truth be told, I rather be doing this than going to the gym every day and working out.
“It gives me a chance to compete a little bit and exercise a little bit. (MLS) is pretty demanding.”
He scored Kansas City’s first two goals against the Ambush, helping keep his team in the game. Ellis has now scored 12 goals in seven games for the Comets.
“It’s huge,” Comets forward and head coach Leo Gibson said of having Ellis on the team. “He brings a lot of things to this team. He brings energy. He brings professionalism in terms of his work ethic. The goals are just things that we see, but he works on the ball and off the ball at times, and the way he battles for the ball is motivating for our guys.”
Ellis’ teammates agreed with Gibson.
“It’s hard to put into words what Kevin brings to the team,” Comets midfielder Gui Gomes said. “This guy played with a lot of people watching him and being in the spotlight. So coming here … he’s just a leader. He’s someone to look up to.”
Ellis had plenty of help against the Ambush as Gomes and Kiel Williams both added two goals. Williams also added three assists. Gomes came into the game with just two goals in 12 games before Sunday’s offensive explosion.
His first goal came with 7:40 left in the second period when he put one in from close range off a pass tha deflected off the boards from Kiel Williams to tie it 3-all.
After Adam James scored early in the third period to put Kansas City up for good, Gomes added a goal with pass the ball to himself off the boards to get past two Ambush defenders. He punched it in to make it 5-3 with 12:49 remaining in the third.
“This is the first time that I got two goals in one game in the four years that I have been here,” Gomes said. “It’s huge for me.”
These are the types of performances Gomes is capable of, Gibson said.
“This guy has potential,” Gibson said of Gomes. “We showed that tonight. We just have to find a way to get that out of him every night.”
The Ambush narrowed the gap to 5-4 at the 7:35 mark in the third when the Ambush scored off a set piece on a power play. From there, Kansas City scored four consecutive goals to put it away. During that stretch, Williams, Sosa, Ignacio Flores and Lucas Rodriguez each scored to push the advantage to 9-4 – and essentially put the game out of reach.
Lucas Alemeida scored with 6:57 left in the game to bring the Ambush within 9-5. Williams scored the Comets’ final goal when he received a pass from Rodriguez on a mule kick and put in a point-blank shot on the power play to help the Comets improve to 8-7 and bolster their playoff hopes.
“I could have been more clinical in front of the goal and finished more chances,” Williams said. “But offensively I felt like it was (one of my better games).”