by Pat Clifton

KANSAS CITY (Nov. 22, 2019) – The Kansas City Comets forced overtime on the road but dropped the opening game of the season, 6-5, to the Turlock Cal Express Saturday in Turlock, Calif. The Comets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Turlock answered with a 3-0 run to take momentum.

The Comets were plagued by penalties on the night, conceding too many power plays. Ultimately, it was a power play in overtime that gave the Express the game winner. The loss drops the Comets 0-1 and lifts the Express to 1-0, giving Turlock the win in the first-ever meeting between the franchises.

Gui Gomes scored the first goal of the season for the Comets, poking in a ricochet off a Kiel Williams shot. Immediately off the kickoff, a pressing Comets defense saw Lucas Rodriguez intercept a pass meant for the goalie and dribble it in for a second score.

The Cal Express cut the lead in half with a set piece goal not long after. Adrian Gutierrez poked one through a faulty wall off a penalty kick.  

At the end of the first quarter, the referee issued double blue cards to an Express defender and Adam James for tangling well off ball. That left both teams down to four men the remainder of the first quarter and the start of the second.

The Express struck first in the second quarter. The Comets got a three-on-one offensively but couldn’t convert. A quick transition left them under-resourced in defense, an assist was slipped behind James, who was scrambling back in defense, and Adrian Pulido tapped one past Steven Hamersky from point-blank distance.

The Comets crossed wires defensively to leak Turlock’s third goal. Two guys collapsed to the middle of the field, leaving the back post wide open for a Jorge Carmona tap in from a Matt Germain assist.

Captain John Sosa made the play of the first half by dispossessing Turlock midfield before playing a give-and-go with James and finishing off with a score. The goal ended a 3-0 Turlock run and tied the game at 3-3.

Williams was shown a blue card just before the end of the half for contesting a fifty-fifty ball off his feet from behind. This power play wouldn’t go as smoothly for the Comets, as Gerardo Jurardo beat Hamersky near post from the right corner for the go-ahead goal just before the half.  

The Comets would score the only goal of the second half, and it was an impressive individual effort by James during a Turlock power play. He grappled his way past one defender and through the keeper to toe a long ball into the back of the net to tie the game.

Turlock and Kansas City traded opportunities throughout the remainder of the second half, including set-piece plays deep in the attacking end in the final two minutes. Both keepers came up big, forcing overtime.

The Comets took the first two shots of extra time, the first a rocket from Bison and the second a one-touch shot into the top net by Rodriguez. Luck turned for Turlock, as the Comets accidentally fielded an extra man, drawing a two-minute man disadvantage.

The Comets held their shape for a long period, but eventually a window popped open, and Gonzalez blasted one past Hamersky from the top of the key.

Up next for the Comets is the Nov. 30 home opener against the St. Louis Ambush. The Express are back in action Sunday at San Diego.

Turlock Cal Express 6-5 Kansas City Comets
August 16, 2018
Turlock Indoor
Turlock, California 7:05 p.m. PT

GOALS1st Quarter2nd Quarter3rd Quarter4th QuarterOvertime