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Comets kick off regular season with win

Kansas City overcomes slow start to top Dallas behind Kevin Ellis' hat trick

By Bill Althaus

ALLEN, Texas – While the game did not get off to the start player/coach Leo Gibson had hoped for, he was thrilled with the end result.

The Dallas Sidekicks took an early 3-0 lead Saturday night at Allen Event Center, but the Kansas City Comets roared back behind a hat trick by Kevin Ellis and two-goal game from Lucas Sousa to claim an 8-5 victory in the Major Arena Soccer League regular season opener.

The Comets opened with a perfect 3-0 record in the preseason Central Cup series and Gibson said that experience helped his team deal with the Sidekicks’ hot start Saturday night.

"There was disappointment being down 3-0, but there was no panic by me or our players," Gibson said early Monday morning before practice back in Kansas City. "We had hoped to come out with a stronger start, but when that didn't happen, we worked hard to get back in the game."

Dallas started with three straight goals as Lipe Andrade scored a minute into the contest and Felipe De Sousa followed with a pair of goals against Comets goalkeeper Nicolau Neto to give the Sidekicks that 3-0 lead with 4:43 to go in the opening quarter. 

Kyle McLagan, the son of former Comet and Blue Springs High School soccer coach Doug McLagan, scored the Comets’ first goal of the regular season at 4:22 of the first quarter.

"Kyle has been working so hard," Gibson said, "and it was big for us to get that first goal. We were all happy Kyle scored. We're looking for big things from him this season."

Kansas City cut the deficit to one after Rian Marquez slid a goal along the ground into the lower left corner of the net to make it 3-2 heading into the second period.

The Comets tied it 3-3 heading into halftime off Sousa's first goal at the 12:42 mark of the second quarter.

Ramone Palmer scored the lone goal of the third quarter to give the Comets a 4-3 lead as they headed into the final period.

Kansas City quickly expanded their lead to two goals just 12 seconds into the fourth quarter on an unassisted goal by Ellis.

With 11:19 to play, Dallas cut the Comets’ lead to one when Freddy Moojen scored for the Sidekicks.

Sousa knocked in his second goal just 1:12 later to make it 6-4. Ellis then scored his second goal just more than a minute later to add to the Comets’ lead.

Andrade scored a power play goal to make it 7-5 with 7:01 left.

After killing off another Sidekicks power play combined with a Dallas sixth attacker, Ellis found an empty net to complete his hat trick and close out scoring with just nine seconds left.

“We did what we needed to do to win," Gibson said. "I believe the early cup series games helped us become more familiar with each other and we are really playing as a team, even though it is so early in the season.

"We're looking forward to the rest of the season."