Lucas Sousa's hat trick caps rally from 5-1 deficit for Kansas City Comets
Kansas City Comets captain John Sosa was looking for an edge – any type of edge.
His team had just roared back from a 5-1 halftime deficit to tie it in Sunday’s Major Arena Soccer League matchup at Cable Dahmer Arena.
The Comets knotted it 6-6 on Lucas Sousa’s second goal of the game as he took a perfect pass from player/coach Leo Gibson off a restart and drilled the ball past Fury goalkeeper Claysson DeLima with 2:59 left in regulation.
With Gibson wearing the sixth attacker jersey, the Comets faced another restart, with Sosa at the top of the arc.
“I made a little fake move, to see what their defense was going to do,” Sosa said, “and I saw Sousa was behind their defense, so I got him the ball.”
The pass was perfect and Sousa headed the ball past DeLima for the game winner with 1:41 left.
The Fury then used a sixth attacker but with Nicolau Neto back in the net for Kansas City, Ontario could not make a serious challenge and the Comets prevailed 7-6.
“You can always expect a perfect pass from John in that situation,” said Sousa, who enjoyed his first hat trick of the season after also scoring in the third period to cut the deficit to 5-3. “I didn’t expect to have a chance at a header, but I saw John’s false move, then he got me the ball behind their defense and I was able to head it past their goalie, who played a great game.”
What made the win against the then first-place Fury (5-2) even more impressive is that the Comets had suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Tacoma Stars Saturday.
“This win shows what type of heart this team has,” Gibson said after his team improved to 6-5, good enough for third place behind Florida and Ontario. “I feel so good tonight, and I did not feel good after Saturday night’s loss. We are playing to earn a better spot in the playoffs, and I don’t know if I have ever been a part of a second-half comeback like this against such a great team.
“But we rallied in the second half and found a way to win.”
Sousa finished with three goals and one assist, Gibson added three assists and one goal and Ramone Palmer had a goal and an assist.
Gibson scored at the 5:26 mark off an assist from Palmer to cut the deficit to 6-4. Mike DaSilva then scored on an assist from Sousa with a sixth attacker to make it 6-5.
Sousa’s two goals then tied it and won it.
“Even when we were down 5-1 at halftime I knew we could come back,” said Neto, who spent much of his time on the field and on the bench (with Gibson in as a sixth attacker late in the game) encouraging his teammates and the fans. “I wanted everyone in the arena to be as excited as I was. We were watching something special, and when Sousa scored what turned out to be the game-winner, I was just shouting with joy.
“When I went back on the field, I was not going to let Ontario score in that final minute and a half. We had worked too hard to get the lead.”
The Comets almost rallied from a 5-1 deficit against Tacoma Saturday. Ray Lee scored two third-quarter goals and DaSilva scored on a pass from Sousa at the 7:12 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 5-4. But Adrian Correa scored with 1:28 left after the Comets used a sixth attacker to seal it. Sosa scored off a Palmer assist just 12 seconds later but the Comets couldn't get the equalizer in the final 1:16.
The Comets play their final regular season game at 5:05 p.m. Sunday against the Dallas Sidekicks at Cable Dahmer Arena.
WWII vet honored
The Comets honor a member of the military at each home and Sunday’s honoree was 97-year-old World War II veteran Lee Schuman, the father of Comets equipment manager Butch Schuman, who served as a corporal in the Army Air Corps.
“This is a special day for me and my family,” Lee Schuman said as he watched the game from the Domino’s Defender Suite. “I’m 97 and people are always asking me how I’ve made it this far and I tell them to work hard.
“I started working when I was 12. I was a caddy at the original Overland Park Golf Course. Work is good for you.”