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Comets drop overtime thriller against Tropics

Nicolau Neto showed why he was an All-Star, but also showed his inexperience.

Neto made some excellent saves
Thad Bell

The Kansas City Comets suffered their first defeat of the season in their first match of a doubleheader against the Florida Tropics by a final score of 8-7.

Florida’s only lead came with Ian Bennett’s game-winning goal in overtime, completing Bennett’s 12th career hat trick against the Comets. A devastating loss that will give both teams a lot to learn from.

The Comets came out strong with three straight goals from Leo Gibson, Henry Ramirez. and Lucas Sousa to take the 3-0 lead after the first quarter. Both sides exchanged goals in the second quarter, including three more for the Comets from Leo Gibson, Matt Lewis, and Adam James as the Comets took a 6-4 lead into halftime.

Leo Gibson added his third of the night in the third period, but the Tropics answered with two more as KC took the narrow 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter. KC appeared to have scored midway through the fourth after the Tropics keeper, Hugo Silva, mishandled the ball, but the officials waved it off for interference (looked like a perfectly clean goal). The Tropics went on to score the game-tying goal late in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

The Comets had the golden opportunity to win it in overtime, but Henry Ramirez couldn’t compose himself to put away the golden-goal. Minutes later, legendary Comet-killer Ian Bennett finished his hat trick with a chip from midfield after Comets keeper, Nicolau Neto, came off his line to get the loose ball.

The Comets drop to 1-1 while the Tropics improve to 3-0. KC had five different goalscorers, including Leo Gibson’s first of the year before adding two more. Rookie midfielder Lucas Sousa also added a goal and two assists.

Nicolau Neto was excellent in the first half and kept KC in it with some incredible saves but was to blame for two crucial mistakes that led to goals for the Tropics. After scoring his first Comets goal, Henry Ramirez had a big miss in overtime that would have given KC the win. Instead, the rookie will remember that chance for all the wrong reasons.

KC made Florida extremely uncomfortable with the game so wide open in the first half, however, the Tropics fought back to eventually tie it after KC started to make some crucial mistakes in the second half. KC will have some gripes about several calls not in their favor, but they still should have come away with a win.

KC will look for revenge on Sunday when the two sides face each other again. I would expect a small roster rotation with Mirko Sandivari and Hector Solorio, who dressed but did not play.