Comets earn No. 3 seed in playoffs with win in regular season finale

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Kansas City Comets forwards Robert Kelly (21) and Mike DaSilva (18) celebrate a goal with teammates in Sunday's game against the Dallas Sidekicks at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Comets routed Dallas 13-4 to clinch an MASL playoff berth.

When Kansas City Comets goalkeepers Lou Misner and Mark Saxby arrived at Cable Dahmer Arena late Sunday afternoon, they were told by player/coach Leo Gibson they would share duties in the net in the season finale against Dallas.

They starred in goal as the Comets crushed the Sidekicks 13-4. Misner played the first half and Saxby the second.

With the win, the Comets (7-5), who went 6-2 after a 1-3 start, clinched the No. 3 seed for the 2021 Major Arena Soccer League's Ron Newman Cup Playoffs and will select their first-round opponent following the No. 2 Ontario Fury’s choice.

“It was a great way to end the regular season and have confidence and momentum going into the playoffs,” Gibson said. “We want Mark and Lou to be ready if we need them – and they were certainly ready tonight.”

The Comets’ first playoff game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. March 26 at Cable Dahmer Arena.

Ray Lee scored two goals and had five assists and Gibson and Dom Francis added two goals and an assist each to lead the Comets past Dallas. Robert Kelly scored his first two goals of the season.

“It’s so weird because I had a dream I was going to be in goal today,” said Misner, who stopped six of eight shots in the first half. “Then when I found out I was playing, it was like, ‘This is perfect. Let’s win and go into the playoffs on a high, full of confidence.’”

Kansas City Comets forward Adam James flicks a pass down field in Sunday's game against the Dallas Sidekicks. The Comets claimed a 13-4 win to clinch an MASL playoff berth.

Saxby, who also stopped six of eight shots, said the win was the perfect way to roll into postseason play.

“It was tough early when we were giving up leads late in our games, and now we’ve turned it around and are playing our best soccer of the season,” Saxby said. “I’m enjoying my role as one of the veteran leaders on this team.

“We have so many young guys, and we’re watching them grow up right before our eyes. We’ve got two weeks to prepare for the playoffs and I know we’re all going to work hard and be ready to go.”

That includes starting goalkeeper Nicolau Neto, who sat out with a variety of bumps and bruises.

Kansas City Comets forward Mike DaSilva (18) thanks teammate Lucas Sousa for the assist on his goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Dallas. The Comets went on to a 13-4 win.

Dallas’ Felipe De Sousa had a hat trick – his third hat trick of the season against the Comets, but all in losses.

After the Sidekicks scored the lone two goals of the first quarter, Kansas City rattled off six consecutive goals in the second. Lee started the spree at the 5:20 mark and capped it at 12:40.

“We came back strong from the first quarter and that was important,” said Gibson, who scored both of his goals in the third quarter. “We were very efficient offensively and defensively tonight.”

The Comets added three goals in the third quarter and four in the fourth quarter. Matt Lewis, Mike DaSilva, Nick McDonald and Rian Marques also scored goals for Kansas City.

“That’s a complete game,” Saxby said. “Everyone who played contributed, and that’s what you want with the playoffs two weeks away.”