by Ed Bishop
@ebisho1 on Twitter
For the Missouri fans the Comets – Wave rivalry has become the MISL’s equivalent of the current Chiefs – Broncos rivalry and perhaps the Royals – Yankees rivalry of the 70’s and 80’s. On Saturday night an Independence Events Center record sell out crowd of 5,893 saw the Comets and Wave pick up right where they left off when Missouri stunned Milwaukee by beating the Wave twice in one afternoon last March on the Wave’s home floor to advance to the MISL Championship Series. However after building three large leads it was Ian Bennett and the Wave who rallied and did the stunning as they took a 23-21 overtime thriller.
Early on it looked like it would be the Comets night as they scored just 17 seconds into the contest with Vahid Assadpour converting a John Sosa restart pass. Just over a minute later Alex Megson, acquired from Syracuse in the offseason, stole a ball in the midfield and took it all the way down and beat Marcel Feenstra to give the Comets a quick 4 – 0 lead. The Wave regained their composure and during an odd-man rush Ian Bennett converted a Pablo cross into a three point goal at 8:58 reducing the Comets lead to one.
|Vahid Assadpour beats Marcel Feenstra to the near post during the Comets home opener.
Photo by Kory Brinton/The Upper 90/@High_VoltageX © 2013
The Comets finally broke through again near the end of the quarter for a Leo Gibson goal at 12:43 with the assist to Assadpour. A minute and a half later Gibson picked up the assist on a Milan Ivanovic goal and the Comets led 8 – 3 at the end of the first quarter.
Looking to take the air out of the IEC crowd the Wave worked to control the ball during the second quarter. The lone goal came at 2:01 on a Luan Oliveira goal with Marcio Leite picking up the first of what would be four assists on the night. At the half the Comets led 8 – 5. Milwaukee outshot the Comets 17 to 15 (13 to 9 in shots on goal), however Danny Waltman‘s eleven saves
The Comets took a six point lead early in the third quarter as Leo Gibson won a ball battle in the midfield and rocketed a three-point goal past Feenstra to give Missouri a six point lead. The game continued to get more physical and midway through the quarter during a ball battle Missouri’s Stefan Stokic took a striking penalty and Milwaukee’s Carlos Munoz took an elbowing penalty leaving four players a side. Nineteen seconds later Comets captain Vahid Assadpour was whistled for a boarding penalty and Oliveira and Leite combined again for a power play goal. Just over a minute later Munoz had just stepped out of the box to create a Wave power play when John Sosa scored a shorthanded goal at 8:32. Just 31 seconds later an unassisted goal by Brian Harris scored unassisted and the Comets held their largest lead of the game at 15 – 7 and Missouri was threatening to blow out Milwaukee, but the Comets know that Keith Tozer’s teams never roll over.
The game pivoted dramatically during the final three minutes of the third quarter and the first minute of the fourth quarter. The Comets got caught pinching several times on defense and the Wave converted several odd-man rushes into goals and Milwaukee scored four consecutive goals starting with a Giuliano Oliviero goal at 12:11 and was quickly followed by a Leite marker at 12:52 and Ian Bennett achieved his brace at 13:26. The Comets lead had been whittled to two at 15 – 13 headed to the fourth quarter and the fans had grown nervous.
Nicolas Perera quickly evened the game just 51 seconds into the fourth and Milwaukee had come all the way back and were ready to tip the game in their direction. Vlatko Andonovski, coaching his first Comets game after a successful first season coaching the women of FC Kansas City, saw his troops respond with urgency as Vahid Assadpour picked up his brace on a restart pass from John Sosa at 2:26. Just seven seconds later Geison picked up his first goal since returning to the Comets and just over a minute and a half later Sosa netted his brace and the three two-point goals had pushed Missouri back out to a 21-15 lead.
After nearly six more scoreless minutes the Wave gained possession and called a time out with 5:01 left to insert defender Victor Quiroz in as sixth attacker. A Wave onslaught on the Missouri goal began with a Carlos Munoz goal at 12:05. Once Milwaukee regained possession they immediately brought Quiroz back on and Ian Bennett achieved his hat trick at 12:50. The Wave hadn’t yet put the sixth attacker back on when Bennett scored his fourth goal at 13:28 and propelled the two clubs to overtime.
In the first overtime period the clubs continued to play at a very high pace. Eight minutes into OT the Comets were whistled for a defensive foul and Marcio Leite took the restart. It was no surprise that the ball quickly found its way onto the foot of Ian Bennett who slotted it past Waltman for the sudden death winner.
Comet Tales: Ian Bennett’s five goal, 11 total point performance gained him MISL Player of the Week honors…Missouri’s Leo Gibson joined Bennett on the MISL Team of the Week with honorable mentions going to John Sosa and Vahid Assadpour of the Comets as well as Luan Oliveira and Marcio Leite of the Wave.. Replays definitely show that Bennett’s first quarter three-pointer was from inside the arc, however replays on three-point goal decisions are only utilized during the playoffs… The Comets were without the services of last year’s leading scorer, Byron Alvarez, who was a scratch… Next up for the Comets are back to back road games against the newly reconstituted St. Louis Ambush at the St. Charles Family Arena on November 23rd and 29th before Missouri returns home to face the Wave on December 13th… The Wave head to Baltimore to play the Blast on November 23rd…