Comets clinch playoff berth with win over Heat

by Nathan Dunn

The Kansas City Comets are headed back to the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs for the third straight year after clinching a playoff berth with a 9-4 win over the Harrisburg Heat on Sunday evening at Cable Dahmer Arena.

With pressure heaping on with the playoffs near, the Comets came away with a much-needed victory in their final regular season game on home turf this season.

The Comets came flying out of the gates when Mads Falck recorded his first point in his Comets return with an assist to Christian Anderaos 2:03 into the game. Falck touched the ball to Anderaos, who lashed it into the net with his right foot from the corner of the box.

Falck got his first goal shortly after to make it 2-0 for the hosts. The Denmark Futsal National Team player delicately touched a loose ball to his left before calmly slotting past the keeper.

“This is so much different than futsal,” Falck said of the difference between indoor soccer and futsal. “In indoor the field is bigger, so runs are longer and the ball is flying around. In futsal, you can control it much more easier, but it's still fun to play.”

The Heat were not going down easy. They scored back-to-back goals in the second quarter with efforts from Roshawn Panton and Ty Hall equalizing the score at 2-2 with 11:32 left in the first half.

The Comets went back up with three straight goals to end the first half with a 5-2 advantage as John Sosa scored twice in addition to Ramone Palmer’s fifth goal this season.

The Comets continued scoring into the third quarter when Ray Lee did the hard work to find Zach Reget alone at the far post before Nicolau Neto tossed a perfect pass to assist Benji Monreal to make it 7-2 Comets.

Harrisburg pulled two more back in the third period with goals from Dominic Francis and Danny DiPrima as the visitors drew within three scores entering the final quarter of action.

Reget concluded his four-point performance with his third assist of the game to Lucas Sousa to make it 8-4. Sousa cut his run back toward the middle and fired a right-footed dart past the keeper.

The fun was not over yet. Leo Gibson scored his 300th regular season goal in his Comets career. Leo the Legend received a gift from a Harrisburg player who coughed up possession with an unfortunate touch, allowing Gibson to pick it up and calmly slot it past the keeper to make it 9-4.

With 4,372 in attendance on Sunday, the Comets also secured the MASL’s best attendance figures since the 2016-17 season. In 12 home dates, the Comets brought in 52,264 fans for an average of 4,355 per game.

“Credit to the guys in the office,” Gibson said. “These guys are doing a fantastic job getting people in the arena. They bring so much energy, so congratulations to the guys in the office.”

The Comets conclude the regular season in Harrisburg this Saturday. A Comets win and a Utica City FC loss would allow the Comets to move into fourth place and host Utica City FC on Monday, April 10 for the play-in game.