It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but the Kansas City Comets grabbed their second win over Orlando this season by a final of 8-6.
With both teams already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Stefan Stokic and Odaine Sinclair joined Robert Kelly on the injury report. Not with an injury, Nicolau Neto was rested as Lou Misner was given his first start since early January.
Jeff Michaud opened the scoring for the visitors after his shot from distance found its way through the legs of an unsighted Lou Misner. Kiel Williams equalized with a swift counter attack with the help of Gui Gomes and Hector Solorio, but Orlando had a quick response with a goal from Eduardo Cruz. Kiel Williams and Kevin Naranjo exchanged quick goals. Naranjo grabbed his second of the night with a nicely placed shot past the keeper to put the at 4-2 Orlando after the first quarter. Not the best 15 minutes of defense for either side, but the Comets won’t be happy with how easy those goals were for the visitors.
After a terrific stop from Misner, Rapha Tobias smashed home the rebound, however Kiel Williams smashed home his first half hat trick with great venom off Mirko Sandivari’s assist. The Comets made it 5-4 after Gui Gomes’ shot was deflected in off the knee of the Orlando defender. Jeff Michaud scored for Orlando towards the end of the second quarter to put the SeaWolves up 6-4 at halftime.
Lucas Rodriguez pulled the Comets back within one after Leo Gibson provided his second assist of the night. Nick McDonald grabbed his first professional goal as the rookie was assisted by great work from Williams to equalize the score at 6-6 by the end of the third period.
Rodriguez grabbed his second of the night to give KC their first lead of the night at 7-6 early in the fourth quarter. Lucas Rodriguez assisted John Sosa to give the Comets an 8-6 lead after a neatly worked set piece from the top of the ark.
After a dreadful start, the Comets pulled it together in the second half to break their three game losing streak and improve to 9-10 while the SeaWolves drop their 12th straight, putting their record at 1-17. Similar to the first time these two sides met, it was a tale of two halves as the Comets dominated the last two quarters.
It was a very rough first half defensively for the Comets, but they were able turn the switch in the second half to score four unanswered goals in the second half. After a rough first half, Lou Misner and his defense held strong defensively and were able to shift the momentum and deny Orlando of a way back in.
Along with Thursday’s win, Robert Palmer’s six blocks Thursday evening tied a franchise record for most blocked shots in a season. With a league-leading 43 blocks in 19 games, Palmer is now tied with Ryan Junge, who blocked 43 shots in 22 games with the Missouri Comets in the MISL in 2011/12. Palmer will be chasing the MASL record, which was set in 2016/17 Harrisburg Heat’s Stephen Basso, who recorded 53 blocked shots in just 20 games.
The Comets will now head to New York, where they will face two very different sides. On Saturday, KC will attempt to grab their second win of the season over the winless Rochester Lancers. On Sunday, the Comets will look to upset the 14-4 Utica City FC. While Saturday’s game is easier on paper, the Lancers did suffer their first one-score loss in overtime against the Baltimore Blast on February 22nd. Utica will offer a much more formidable force, as they currently sit second in the East, but looking get the number one seed for the postseason.