A weekend that began with such promise ended with another gut-wrenching loss for coach Leo Gibson’s Kansas City Comets.
The Comets took defending Major Arena Soccer League champion MIlwaukee into overtime Friday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, only to lose 7-6, then followed that setback with an 11-8 loss to the Ontario Fury at home Sunday afternoon, all but eliminating their chances for postseason action.
Sixth-place Kansas City now stands at 8-9 with seven games – and only two home games – remaining on the schedule.
“Friday was so difficult because we got off to the slow start and made that great comeback, only to lose in overtime,” Gibson said Sunday after scoring three goals and adding an assist.
“Today, we got off to the good start, then I just don’t know what happened. I’m going to have to look at the film. We played a very strong fourth quarter to at least make a game out of it, but we didn’t do anything in the second or third quarters and that led to this loss.”
Stefan Stokic blocked an Ontario shot, that bounced to teammate Adam James, who finished a break away with a goal to give Kansas City a quick 1-0 lead.
But the Fury’s Juan Carlos Gonzalez countered less than a minute later to tie it and set the stage for an Ontario offensive outburst.
Kansas City regained the lead at the 4:22 mark when Kevin Ellis stole the ball and fed Odaine Sinclair for a goal.
But the Fury would score the next six goals, taking a commanding 7-2 lead into the closing seconds of the second period, when Gibson buried a penalty shot to make it 7-3.
The third period started in much the same fashion as the second period began with the Fury scoring three goals to take a 10-3 lead.
Comets forward Kiel Williams scored a controversial goal as the buzzer sounded to end the third period and make it 10-4.
Gibson then elected to pull Nicolau Neto from goal and insert a sixth attacker, Lucas Rodriguez.
The Fury immediately scored to make it 11-4, and that seemed to fire up the Comets, who scored the next four goals.
Ignacio Flores, Gibson, Williams and Gibson again found the back of the net to make it a respectable 11-8 score.
“I felt like time ran out, because we were playing so well,” Gibson said. “But we have to find out why we go through those long stretches where we don’t play well, giving up too many goals and not responding defensively.”
The win keeps 10-8 Ontario in third place in the Western Conference and expands their recent winning streak to four games.
“We’re playing very well on the road right now,” said league scoring leader Franck Tayou (54 points), who had two goals Sunday. “We knew one of our biggest challenges on this road trip would be trying to win against a great team like the Comets, and we found a way to do it. We just have to stay focused and keep playing hard to make the playoffs.”