Comets beat odds, Blast with a goal in OT for 7-6 win

Inspired K.C. survives 5-on-3 situation, ends home team's 6-win run


December 14, 2003|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

The Kansas City Comets had not had much to say for themselves through the first nine games of the Major Indoor Soccer League season. Playing subpar soccer, the Comets needed overtime to beat an expansion team last week.

But last night, the Comets played a strong defensive game, withstood the pressure of a powerful Blast offense and beat the defending MISL champions in OT, 7-6.

"The way we played tonight says a lot about our team," said Anthony Maher, who scored the game-winner with 9:43 gone in the extra period, stunning the 4,468 fans at 1st Mariner Arena. "We came with a desire to win. We just wanted it more."

It was only the second loss in eight home games for the Blast and ended its league-leading, six-game winning streak. The Blast (8-4) will not play again until a home game Dec. 26 against the Philadelphia KIXX, who are 8-3 after last night's win.

The Blast certainly had its chances. In the fourth period, Kansas City goalie DJ Horvath put his team in a terrible position when he argued a foul call and was given a five-minute misconduct penalty. Kansas City did not dress a backup goalie and therefore had to put defenseman Wes Wade in goal.

When Franck M'Bemba was ejected for dissenting, the Blast found itself on a 5-on 3 power play. For the Blast, it should have meant a quick score.

Instead, the Comets played brilliant defense and the home team not only came away with nothing, but failed to make Wade make even one save.

"Body language said everything tonight," said Maher, who also had two assists. "When they didn't score on that 5-on-3 in regulation, they knew and we knew they were going to lose."

Blast goalie Scott Hileman, who didn't get much defensive help early in the game and was caught in an awkward position when Maher headed the ball down and toward the near post for the game-winner, said the 5-on-3 was probably the turning point. But he refused to agree that his team's fate was sealed at that moment.

"I sure didn't know we were going to lose," Hileman said. "Yeah, it's a game of momentum, but I didn't know that was it. That's ridiculous."

No one may have known what the outcome would be, but Blast coach Tim Wittman had a pretty good idea of what it means not to score in situations like that.

"We played [terribly]," said Wittman. "Players are complaining the ball wasn't over the line, but it doesn't matter. It should never have gotten to that point. When we didn't finish the 5-on-3 with no keeper - well, you've got to finish the game at that point. After that, you better just shut up and play."

The Blast's defense has been faulty in recent games, giving up 22 goals in its last three contests. Until last night, however, the team had been able to overcome its problems with offense. Last night, it couldn't.

Blast 2 2 1 1 0 - 6

Kansas City 2 4 0 0 1 - 7

First quarter: 1. Kansas City, Andonovski (UA), 8:31; 2. Blast, Celenza (Bascome, power play), 8:41; 3. Wakefield (Farias), 14:25; 4. Kansas City, Delevski (Andonovski), 14:59. Penalties: Kansas City, Horvath (handball), 7:23. Second quarter: 5. Kansas City, Djerisilo (Andonovski), 2:36; 6. Blast, Kelly (Penalty kick, power play), 4:42; 7. Kansas City, Delevski (Maher), 6:08; 8. Blast, Bascome (Farias), 6:33; 9. Kansas City, Tanzini (Wade), 7:16; 10. Kansas City, Houser (Maher), 10:20. Penalties: Kansas City, Maher (tripping) 4:41; Blast, Bench (misconduct), 14:17. Third quarter: 11. Blast, Celenza (Bascome), 1:08. Penalties: Kansas City, Delevski (misconduct), 1:15; Blast, Gilbert (misconduct), 1:15; Kansas City, Mahar (boarding), 7:59; Kansas City, head coach Savic (dissent), 7:59. Fourth quarter: 12. Blast, Regis (Faris), 6:04. Penalties: Kansas City, Horvath (misconduct)7:39. Kansas City, M'Bemba (misconduct - red card), 8:13; Blast, Tschantret (violent elbowing - red card), 12:36. Overtime: 13. Kansas City, Maher (UA), 9:43. Shots on goal: Kansas City-6-9-3-3-4 - 25; Blast-7-8-8-2-4 - 29. Power-play opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-1; Blast 2-for-5. Penalty-shot opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-0; Blast 1-for-1. Goalkeepers: Kansas City, Horvath, 13; Wade, 1 saves; Blast, Hileman, 10 saves. A-4,468.

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