It was not easy and it was not always pretty but the Kansas City Comets came from behind to beat the Dallas Sidekicks 7-5 and earn their 100th regular season win for the franchise. Ramone Palmer led the Comets with two goals and Vahid Assadpour added a goal and two assists at crucial times.
The Comets and Sidekicks came into the match from opposite points of view but both needing the win. Kansas City leads the Central division and needed the win to stay in the playoff zone with a couple tough division rival matches to wrap up the season.
Dallas was in third in the Southwest and needed the win to stand a chance to make post season and the start of the game showed that desire by the Sidekicks.
The first quarter was almost all Dallas. After almost scoring less than a minute in (missed a wide open goal), the Sidekicks took the lead at 2:51 on a goal by Jamie Lovegrove. Scores by VcMor Eligwe and Cameron Brown at 5:09 and 10:26 had the first quarter in control for Dallas.
The Comets regrouped and started chipping away at the lead in the second quarter. After just one shot by the Comets in the first, they ramped up the attack on goal in the second with a total of ten shots. Finally Ramone Palmer redirected Assadpour’s pass into the far corner at the 9:17 mark.
The two teams went into the half with the score 3-1 in favor of Dallas but momentum had shifted to Kansas City’s favor.
Dallas tried to recreate the early success in the game in the third quarter and did add to their lead with another goal by Eligwe but the Comets took control and added four straight goals (Bryan Perez, Robert Palmer, Assadpour and Brian Harris) to take the lead 5-4 in the fourth quarter.
The Sidekicks were on a defensive footing most of that time but did not go quietly, Eligwe added his third midway through the fourth to even it back up but the Comets turned the pressure up again.
The Comets regained the lead when Ramone Palmer received a pass in the middle of the box from Harris and was able to turn on it before the defense could collapse on him for a power play goal.
Dallas went with the sixth attacker but a combined team pressure of Lucas Rodriguez, Robert Palmer and Stefan Stokic led to a late goal by Stokic to make the final score 7-5 for Kansas City.
“For you guys it’s entertaining, for me it’s a heart attack,” head coach Goran Karadzov told media after the match.”
The Comets have had a number of very close games this season, one goal games and wins with last minute goals. That is not making Karadzov happy. “This is not the first time, more like the fifth time we wait until the last minute or two to win the game,” Karadzov observed. “It’s always good to get the win but we have to approach differently, this isn’t going to work in the playoffs being down three or four goals. We wouldn’t be able to recover. Chemistry it is good to build character for the team but I would greatly prefer we can win it in the first three quarters and the fourth quarter just to keep it.”
Veteran defender Stefan Stokic felt the slow start resulted from a little overconfidence. “I think we came in to the first half thinking it was going to be an easy game,” Stokic explained. “They got some easy goals and we had to step up and that is what we did in the second half.”
“Good teams find a way to win,” Comets’ captain Vahid Assadpour stated. “We didn’t start out the way we wanted to and we were down 3-0 at one point but momentum is going our way. When you do the right things the ball will bounce your way.”
Assadpour expressed his pride in being part of the Comets’ 100 wins. “It’s great. I spent four years in Detroit before I came here and this is my seventh year with the Comets. It’s unbelievable and a big accomplishment. It’s amazing for the organization and the few guys that have been here since day one.”