The closing minutes of the Missouri Comets playoff match with Baltimore became rather heated Sunday. A couple red cards, a dangerous tackle and a post-game head butt may be the lasting memory of a great season for the Comets.
Comments on the match
Blast coach Danny Kelly - "It was two great teams battling back and forth; we knew it was going to be a tougher game than it was back in Baltimore, obviously back in home in front of their fans, the reigning champions. The effort my guys put in to give themselves an opportunity to win this game was unbelievable we've been champions before, we know what it takes and we were coming here to win. It's unfortunate we play a home and home and a 15 minute game. I'd much rather play a best of three games series or a five game series."
Comets coach Vlatko Andonovski - "We played hard, we did everything we could but we have to give a big hand to Baltimore, they played a great game. When you play a team like Baltimore it can go either way, they are going to win some, we are going to win some and that is the beauty of the game."
Blast keeper William Vanzela - "The game, they're really good team, as we are a good team. I think we have a better group than them, they have good single players but we have a good group. A better group than them."
How the Blast were able to beat the undefeated Comets
Danny Kelly - "We wanted to take away their strengths and limit their opportunities as much as possible and I think over two games we did that."
Vlatko Andonovski - "They matched our intensity, they matched our pace and they knew we were more tired than them and they knew we were going to slow down and that to we were going make mistakes and that they would be able to take advantage of some of the mental mistakes."
The Comets had very little rest between matches and some insane travel that the Blast did not
Vlatko Andonovski - "There was a little bit of mental exhaustion from three games in four days across the country. It gets to people's minds, it gets to their mentality. When you are fresh, everything is going smooth and nice and good but when you are tired you get away from the game, away from the beauty of the game."
Were the referees a little too friendly with Baltimore?
Vlatko Andonovski - "Frustration was just going throughout the game and as much as I don't want to comment on the referees, an hour and a half before the game, the Baltimore owner was on the phone with Ryan Cigich (the referee crew chief). But it should not happen, an owner of the team on the phone with the referee oft the game. They could be talking volleyball or basketball but it should not happen. Whether you want it or not, in some capacity it influences people's minds."
Andre Braithwaite head butts Blast captain Pat Healey
About the end of match activities
Vlatko Andonovski - "I was not happy with the way the game ended, the last seconds and the fight after it. I don't want to see that anywhere and definitely I don't want my team to be part of something like that. I teach integrity, I teach class and we've got to remind ourselves every time individually. But also know that and know we're representing and our organization, our community and our city."
William Vanzela - "It was unacceptable and as a professional player I've never seen anything like that. Oour team captain get punched in the face for no reason after the game was over. I just hope that we can punish him."
Danny Kelly - "You win with class and you lose with class. Two foot our guy with the ball away and the game over? Classless, gutless. What Braithwaite did, sucker punching one of our guys while he was congratulating one of their guys? Gutless, classless. Unacceptable behavior, a black eye on the organization and the league. The game was over, that's assault, he should be thrown in jail with criminal charges."
Independence police officer who wished to remain anonymous - "There is nothing we can do, it happened on the field and the contract states that what happens on the field stays on the field. We will get information and take a statement."
Will there be repercussions from the team for the conduct?
Vlatko Andonovski - "Absolutely, they know there are always repercussions. I don't know what capacity it will be but there will be. There will be."
There was a quick action, the Comets did not waste time in releasing Braithwaite
The Comets organization announces that Andre Braithwaite has been released from the team effective immediately.— Missouri Comets (@CometsMASL) March 16, 2015
Posted on social media over night
Andre Braithwaite - "I am truly sorry from deep within, lost my temper and I apologize and hope Pat Healy can forgive. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am far from the man you think I am when you watched that game..and I realized I am far from the man I set out to be."
Vlatko Andonovski - "I personally did not see it but if he did, I personally apologize to the whole Baltimore organization, and to the league and the fans and to everyone who witness it. That's not who I am, that's not what this organization is all about. I tell the boys, on any given day we're going to be win or we're going to lose. The question is, are we going to win or lose like a man. I want them take the loss like a man and learn from it and get better from it."
Vlatko Andonovski - "Anything I say right now will take away from the great game by Baltimore. They came into our arena and beat us fair and square and that's it."
One last (less than) classy comment
Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale - "You want to know why they were 20 and 0? Because they didn't f***ing play us."