Kansas City Comets vs Milwaukee Wave
When: Friday, January 17th, 2020 at 7:05 PM CT
Where: Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, Independence, Missouri
How to Watch/Stream: Masl.tv/YouTube
The Kansas City Comets will welcome in the Milwaukee Wave for the second time this month, after the Wave ran away with it in the fourth quarter in an 8-3 Wave win earlier this month.
The 2019 Ron Newman Cup champions enter Friday’s showdown with 6-2 record. Led by head coach Giuliano Oliveiro, both losses for the Wave came on their own territory, losing to the Florida Tropics and most recently suffering a devastating overtime defeat after an incredible, yet unsurprising comeback against the St. Louis Ambush on January 12th.
While the Wave will continue without goalkeeper Josh Lemos, Rafa Dias has had a mostly good season stepping in for Lemos, who remains out with a torn ACL. The Wave will also be without Jonathan Santos, who was traded to the St. Louis Ambush for a player to be named later. While they are now without two key figures for them last season, they still are a very talented squad, with an offensive explosion from Luan Oliveira, who has scored 13 goals in eight games this season.
The Wave, who sit second in the Eastern Conference with a 6-2 record, can afford to lose a couple games and still make the playoffs, but the Comets, who sit seventh in the East with a 4-5 record (top four teams from both conferences qualify for the playoffs), must enter every game expecting a win.
Kansas City comes fresh from a 14-6 victory over the Orlando SeaWolves on January 10th, a game in which Kevin Ellis returned to the scoresheet with five goals. The Comets are led by Leo Gibson, who is tied with Milwaukee’s 2019 MASL MVP Ian Bennett as the Eastern Conference’s second highest scorer with 14 goals.
While the Wave have won 11 of the last 12 meeting against the Comets, Kansas City played a promising opening three quarters without some of their best players despite the ending scoreline showing 8-3 in favor of Milwaukee. With players like John Sosa, Stefan Stokic, Lucas Rodriguez, Ray Saari, and a confident Kevin Ellis, the Comets might be able to leave Friday’s match with a win.
Another thing to consider is that these two teams meet again on Monday in Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see how head coach Leo Gibson approaches these next two games, whether he puts his best possible squad out there as long as they are in the game or if he might be more conservative in how many minutes players log. Expecting a holiday weekend sweep of the Wave would be a very tall task, so I would play my best possible squad on Friday which would require a win, and hope to put a decent lineup together for Monday’s trip to Milwaukee.
In order to get a win, the team must remain focused and patient, as the Wave will capitalize on mistakes and bring the MASL’s strongest defense to Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, which has given up just 29 goals this season. They can’t afford to give much space to lethal players like Ian Bennett, Luan Oliveira, and Alex Bradley, who combined to score seven of the team’s eight goals, and was directly involved in all eight goals against the Comets in their last meeting. The Comets also must remain balanced and avoid quick counter attacks against a dangerous Milwaukee team, which the return of John Sosa will help with.