The Missouri Comets beat the Wave 20-6 in the first match of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Playoffs. A dominating performance by Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman (a shutout through the three and a half quarters) and a record setting 11 points for forward Leo Gibson put the Comets in control of the playoffs.
"Very happy with the performance," Comets head coach Vlatko Andonovski stated after the match. "What a way to start the playoffs and I can't ask for more. The boys played their hearts out all the way from Danny (Waltman) up through our forwards. They scored the goals, some of them we probably shouldn't have scored. Danny made the saves, Leo surprised everyone in the arena but that is the playoff mentality with these boys".
The Comets had a 6-0 lead at the half and 10-0 after three quarters.
"The first half was a story of the Comets defense and Danny Waltman," Wave head coach Keith Tozer stated. "I thought we had some good looks, he made some huge saves, we hit a crossbar, we had two power plays we couldn't finish. We felt being down 6-0 at halftime we could get back into it however I told them last time here at 10-0 down and we were able to get back into and they were going to do everything they can to stay away from that."
"They were tough, they were hungry and some of our guys backed down," Tozer continued.
When asked if he could expect any more from his keeper after such a good game, Andonovski laughed. "Danny gets a shutout and scores for us, then I will say he was good enough."
Waltman did have a stellar game in goal but as any keeper will tell you they get a lot of help, Several key blocks by team mates and one sequence that saw the ball go off the same post twice and almost be an own goal before a player cleared it. The Comets keeper was credited with 21 saves on the night but the numbers do not tell the story of how great those saves were.
Game 2 Monday night
The Comets travel to Milwaukee on Monday for Game 2 of the playoff series. A win would earn the Comets their second straight trip to the MISL Championship. Should the Wave win, a 15-minute mini game is played directly after Game Two to decide the series.
Tozer is hoping that getting his squad home will help set the Wave back on the right track. "We worked all season long to have home field advantages and now it comes back to our building."
With the short turnaround there is not much time to change things up for either team.
"For the next game, physically, technically, tactically there is not much we can change," Andonovski said. "We have to keep the same mentality, the same energy and the same enthusiasm and that is something we have already talked about and will talk about before the game as well."