The Kansas City Comets fell 8-5 to the St. Louis Ambush Friday night. With the loss the Comets drop to the third-place spot in the South Central Division behind St. Louis. With the loss, the Comets also missed out on an opportunity to have climbed above the .500 mark but instead earned a 4-5 record. Three of the five losses have come at the hands of their cross-state rivals.
The game started off in Kansas City’s favor with a decent amount of pressure. Both teams had a few chances, but it was Kansas City’s Anthony Grant that broke through first just past halfway in the first quarter. The Ambush leveled it when the Comets were unable to clear a ball out of defense. Douglas Dos Santos recovered the ball and split the Comets forwards and hammered a ball past Brett Petricek.
The Comets regained the lead early in the 2nd quarter when Alain Matingou found Kiel Williams alone to the left of the Ambush box. Williams slid it past Ambush keeper Paulo Nascimento to make it 2-1.
The Comets’ defensive lapses allowed the Ambush to take the lead in the middle of the 2nd. Stefan St. Louis pounced on a rebound in the box to make it 2-2. Justin Stinson followed it up a couple minutes later when Kansas City could not defend the runners to make it 3-2 in favor of St. Louis.
It took a late goal by Adam James to keep it level at the half.
The 3rd quarter belonged to St. Louis on both ends. The Comets outshot the visitors 11-7 but gave up four straight goals before Lucas Rodriguez stopped the bleeding with a power-play goal.
The Comets were able to generate a lot of opportunities in the final frame with 18 shots compared to just 3 for the Ambush.
While the Comets were not as sharp as they would have liked, Ambush keeper Paulo Nascimento made a heroic effort on night. Stopping at least two with his face, he also made a number of diving saves and quick reaction blocks as well. Nascimento faced 44 shots and his defense blocked 16 of them but the St. Louis keeper made 23 saves of his own and easily earned the player of the match.
Comets head coach Kim Roentved was unwilling to let the great play of the opposing keeper justify the loss.
“I am going to tip my hat, he is a great goalkeeper, but I am not going to use that as an excuse,” Roentved replied to media after the match. “I’m sorry if that is what you are looking for but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. It was from the get-go not good enough, not solid enough. It was a lack of solid defense, a lack of focus, a lack of discipline. A lack of a lot of things.”
Roentved continued, “If one team shows up and the other one doesn’t that team will win. We didn’t show up today and I am embarrassed.”
With another match on Sunday, the Comets will have a quick turnaround to get the bad taste out of their mouth but it will not be easy. Utica City FC sits on top of the Eastern Dvision with a 7-2 record. Utica and the Comets kick off at 7:05 PM on Sunday.