MASL Regular Season- Matchday 5
Kansas City Comets vs Tacoma Stars
When: Friday, Jan. 22, 7:05 p.m. CST
Where: Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Missouri
How to Watch: Single Game Pass or Regular Season Pass
The Kansas City Comets are seeking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in their home opener when the Tacoma Stars come to town on Friday.
The Comets enter Friday with a 1-3 record and coming off three straight defeats. Their first two came against the Florida Tropics before they dropped their third straight last weekend against the St. Louis Ambush.
The good thing for the Comets is that Leo Gibson will return to the lineup after serving his one-game suspension last week against the Ambush. With the possibility of several other absences, midfielder Lucas Sousa will be expected to continue his promising start to his rookie campaign. Sousa ranks third in the MASL eight points from four goals and four assists in the opening four games.
The major question for KC entering Friday is who is available? KC could have as many as seven guys out including Kevin Ellis, Ray Lee, and Ramone Palmer. If KC does get a couple of those guys back from injury, then KC would be in a much better position to win.
KC also needs to play smarter. The Comets have been their own worst enemy with so many needless fouls and penalty minutes this season. Rookie forward Rian Marques has had some good goals, but with a league-leading 15 fouls, he’ll need to adjust to the game. Matt Lewis leads the MASL with 14 penalty minutes served while Joh Sosa is third with 10 penalty minutes. They need to be more controlled to keep themselves available, especially in the final quarter of a tight game.
In five previous meetings between KC and Tacoma, the Comets have four wins and a loss. All four of KC’s wins have come at home while the Stars won their only meeting in Tacoma in March of 2018. Their most recent meeting came last season when the Comets cruised past the Stars with a 9-2 win.
Friday’s contest will be the first competitive game in 320 days for the Tacoma Stars, although they did have eight players participate in the MASL All-Star Game in December. Following their match in KC, the Stars will head to St. Louis for a meeting with the Ambush on Sunday.
Tacoma will bring a very strong roster for their season-opener, which includes the goalkeeping duo of MASL All-Star Game MVP, Danny Waltman, and the 2019/20 MASL Goalkeeper of the Year, Chris Toth. Both played in the All-Star Game, with Toth getting the first half and Waltman getting the second half. I doubt both play on Friday.
The Stars are also loaded with talent in the field, led by player-coach Nick Perera, who had 81 goals and tallied 71 assists in 56 from his first three seasons with the Stars. Tacoma also has 2019-20 All-MASL 3rd Team midfielder Michael Ramos, who led Tacoma with 28 goals last season, and other standouts such as Cory Keitz, Philip Lund, Evan McNeley, and former Baltimore Blast forward Vini Dantas.
The Stars will be without forward Alessandro Canale, who will be serving a one-game suspension for penalty accumulation.
If KC can get a couple of players back from injury and better control themselves, then the Comets have a good chance of winning. For Tacoma, they will still be wearing off some rust in their first match in over 10 months, much to the benefit of the hosts.
For my final prediction, I will predict an 8-5 win for the Comets. With three straight losses, KC needs this win to turn things around in their home opener. While Tacoma has high expectations, this could be a difficult task against a Comets team that typically performs their best at home.