Overtime heartbreak ends Comets season in Utica

by Nathan Dunn

Kansas City Comets’ Ron Newman Cup run came to an abrupt end Monday evening as they suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 overtime loss on the road to Utica City FC in the Eastern Conference Play-In Game.

A three-goal Comets advantage in the second quarter was too little as Utica came storming back to even it up at 3-3. After Utica eventually took a slim one-goal fourth-quarter lead, the Comets managed to equalize, only to be beaten in overtime.

It got off to a nervy start for the Comets when Leo Gibson was given a two-minute penalty box sentence for tripping just 90 seconds into the contest.

After Rian Marques was denied a shorthanded goal early in the first quarter, Marques would not be denied another as he finally got his shorthanded goal 3:19 into the game. Marques reacted quickly to fire the loose ball at the top of the box high into the net.

Marques still wasn’t done scoring. He got his second of the opening frame when John Sosa found the Brazilian forward for his second of the evening 11:46 into the game. Sosa quickly flipped the field to find Marques along the left side before he beat his defender and slotted it past the keeper.

The Comets made it 3-0 early in the second quarter when they made Utica pay for a clearance out of bounds. Ray Lee scored directly from a top-of-the-arc restart, squeezing a powerful left-footed effort through the wall.

The hosts finally got on the board when a ball trickled all the way through to Bo Jelovac at the far post. The Utica forward took a touch to control before firing an effort in 8:40 into the contest.

Utica made it 3-2 when Cristhian Segura fired in a right-footed effort with 4:15 remaining in the first half. After leading a counter, Segura got the ball back and found his first of the contest.

Segura scored again when he capitalized on a bad turnover. Segura tied it up at 3-3 when he smashed an effort high into the goal with less than two minutes to play in the second quarter.

The Comets pulled back in front 4-3 late in the second quarter when Lee found Ramone Palmer on the far side as Palmer lifted the ball high past the keeper.

The Comets went up 5-3 when Leo Gibson slotted an effort inside the near post assisted by Mads Falck.

Utica supplied a quick response to come back within a goal. Juan Alava made a central run out of defense and smashed it into the top corner to make it 5-4.

Utica's search for the equalizer continued into the fourth frame until Stefan Mijatovic’s effort was deflected in to make it 5-5.

Utica took their first lead of the game when the hosts broke on a quick counterattack before Quenton Swift found the go-ahead goal at the far post.

The Comets answered to make it 6-6 when Falck extended the match by smashing a left-footed shot past the keeper with 5:19 remaining. His original effort from distance bounced back to him after missing wide right.

Neither team managed to go back ahead, forcing the contest to be decided by a golden goal in overtime.

Utica clinched the win 2:41 into overtime when Segura scored the game-winner with his third of the night as he danced through nearly the entire Comets team before slotting it inside the far post.

The Comets fought hard for more than four quarters, but have their season came crashing down with a tough overtime loss.

Utica advances to play the top-seeded Milwaukee Wave in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which starts Thursday in Milwaukee.

Be sure to stay tuned in to the Comets at www.kccomets.com and across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the offseason developments in preparation for the 2023-24 season.