Comets host Empire Strykers

by Nathan Dunn

Kansas City Comets vs Empire Strykers

MASL Regular Season

Saturday, February 10 — 6:05 p.m. CT

Where | Cable Dahmer Arena - Independence, Missouri 

Stream |

The Kansas City Comets are set for another interconference battle for a second consecutive night as they play host to the Empire Strykers on Saturday evening. Two-time World Cup veteran Marco Fabian of the Strykers is looking for his first successful visit in his third trip to Kansas City, previously taking two defeats against Sporting KC.

It will also be a battle of first-year head coaches. Stefan Stokic is looking to correct the Comets’ season after a promising start. Indoor legend Paul Wright, who played four seasons under head coach Ron Newman with the San Diego Sockers and four seasons under Newman with the Kansas City Wizards, leads the Strykers in a year of great turnover.

Stokic and his Comets team are looking to resurrect their season and will try to end an eight-game losing streak. After sitting towards the top of the table for much of the season, the Comets are now fighting to retain a top-four seed to earn a playoff spot.

The Comets are coming from a shootout loss to the Tacoma Stars. After ending regulation tied 5-5 and neither team scoring in overtime, the Stars won the shootout 2-1 in four rounds.

The Comets will still be without leading scorer Zach Reget for a second straight match as he is with the U.S. National Futsal Team for camp in Argentina. DeBray Hollimon (left great toe sprain) is doubtful while Ray Lee (left knee effusion) is probable.

Robert Palmer, the first player in MASL history to reach 300 career blocks, is up against the team he helped to the 2021 Ron Newman Cup Finals and won his Defender of the Year with. He will be familiar with a few faces from the visitors, but the MASL's all-time blocks leader will be ready to help the Comets to victory.

The Comets are 3-4 all-time against the Strykers, including the 2021 Ron Newman Cup semifinal series that the Strykers, then known as the Ontario Fury, took 2-1. This will be Empire's second-ever visit to KC for a regular season game, winning the first one 11-8 in 2020. Both teams will meet in Empire on February 28.

The Strykers enter Saturday's matchup with practically a complete overhaul. Former head coach Jimmy Nordberg has transitioned into a new role as executive vice president while Wright has taken over coaching duties of the new-look Strykers. Players such as Robert Palmer, Chris Toth, Uzi and Franck Tayou have departed the club.

Fabian headlines the incoming players from the Strkers' roster overhaul. While his first season in the MASL has been highly productive with 17 goals and 11 assists, the 34-year-old former Mexican international does not have good memories in Kansas City. He lost both previous visits, including a 1-0 defeat to Sporting KC in 2014 when he played for Cruz Azul in a CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal matchup. He returned to KC in 2019 to lose 2-0 with the Philadelphia Union as he had a penalty saved and received a red card after 60 minutes.

Empire's other former Mexican international is Miguel Ponce. Like Fabian, Ponce was another longtime Chivas Guadalajara player who was with Mexico at the 2014 World Cup.

Former Comets forward Adam James is in his second season with Empire, contributing a pair of goals and an assist in eight games. The Strykers are guided by veteran defender Israel Sesay.

Empire is coming from a 9-7 loss in Baltimore on Friday evening. After trailing 6-0 in the first half, the Strykers managed to draw closer but ran out of time to truly offer Baltimore a challenge.

The Strykers will be without Anthony Arico, Howard Miller Jr, Lucas Roque and Walter Diaz for undisclosed reasons.

Fifth-place Empire is looking to close the gap between them and the fourth-place Tacoma Stars as they fight for a playoff spot.

After Saturday's matchup, the Comets will be back in action on February 16 when they host the defending Ron Newman Cup champion Chihuahua Savage. Tickets are available at for next Friday's matchup.