by Pete Richmire

INDEPENDENCE, MO. –  The Comets (7-1-1) let a three-goal halftime lead slip and eventually fell by a 7-6 final to Utica City FC (7-2-0) in a Friday night battle at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Comets remain atop the Eastern Conference by two points over Monterrey, the team they will face on the road this Sunday.

Utica netted their only goal of the first half on a sharp double header off a restart. Gordy Gurson received the restart pass on the right side of the goal and sent a header to Taylor Walter Bond, who also used a header to beat Comets keeper Nicolau Neto for a 1-0 UCFC lead with 10:33 left in the opening frame.

Kansas City notched their first of four straight goals to finish the half when John Sosa sent a pass across midfield to Michael Lenis at the top of the arc for the goal to level the game at 1-1 just over two minutes after the Utica goal.

Leo Gibson gave the Comets a 2-1 lead coming off the bench to receive a pass from Neto and driving up the boards and finishing with the near post shot for his third goal of the season and to send the game to the second quarter with the Kansas City one goal lead.

A pair of goals by the Comets, both assisted by Ray Lee was all the scoring that took place during the second quarter, though there was plenty of action aside from the markers. 

Nilton de Andrade drew the game’s first card as he was sent to the penalty box for two minutes after his fourth foul of the half. The Comets only used 12 seconds of the power play though, Lee sent a cross-field pass off the wall to Nacho Flores for the goal and a 3-1 Comets lead with 10:35 to go until halftime. 

The final goal of the first half came when Lee sent a pass across midfield to Zach Reget who was alone on goal and converted for the 4-1 lead at the break.

The game took a turn at that point as Utica outscored the Comets 5-2 in the second half and it took a goal from Leo Acosta from just inside the yellow line for Kansas City with 4:49 to go in regulation to send the game to overtime. 

Momentum had completely shifted in favor of the visitors and Steven Fernandez scored the game-winner for UCFC just over two minutes into the extra frame to defeat the Comets by a 7-6 final in front of 4,325 fans at Cable Dahmer Arena.

The Comets begin a stretch of six consecutive road games on Sunday in Monterrey against the Flash at 3:35. Their next home action comes on Friday, February 9 when the Tacoma Stars make their only trip to Cable Dahmer Arena this season. Get your tickets today at before they sell out.


1st – UTC Bond (Gurson) 4:27; KC Lenis (Sosa) 6:49; KC Gibson (Neto) 10:57. Penalties – None.

2nd – KC Flores (Lee) 4:25 pp; KC Reget (Lee) 5:33. Penalties – UTC de Andrade (bc- four fouls in a half) 4:13; KC Anderaos (yc- dissent) 5:11.

3rd – UTC de Andrade (Woods) 0:22; KC Reget (unassisted) 1:56; UTC de Andrade (unassisted) 4:54; UTC Tayou (Ndiaye) 9:32. Penalties – None.

4th – UTC Gurson (unassisted) 6:58 so; UTC Fernandez (unassisted) 7:28; KC Acosta (Lenis) 10:32. Penalties – KC Anderaos (bc- holding) 6:58; UTC Fernandez (yc- severe unsportsmanlike manner) 7:28; UTC de Andrade (rc- six fouls in a game) 12:36.

OT – UTC Fernandez (Woods) 2:01. Penalties – None.


Power Play – Comets 1/1, Utica 1/1

Penalty Minutes – Comets 7, Utica 7

Fouls – Comets 21, Utica 20

Shots – Comets 45, Utica 35

Attendance – 4,325