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KC Comets open regular season with doubleheader against Ambush

The renewal of a rivalry that has been revived in recent years.

James Togbah on the attack in a Central Cup match
Thad Bell

MASL Regular Season- Matchday 1

Kansas City Comets @ St. Louis Ambush

When: Friday, November 26, 5:05 p.m. CST

Where: Family Arena, St. Louis, Missouri

How To Watch: MASLtv

The 2021/22 MASL regular season will get underway on Black Friday as the Kansas City Comets visit the St. Louis Ambush.

Both teams will then travel down I-70 for the second match of the season in Kansas City for the Comets’ home opener on Saturday.

This weekend’s matchup will feature a historic rivalry. The modern rivalry struggled for a while, as the Comets won the first 16 of 17 meetings since both teams returned last decade. Finally, the Ambush started performing and have won eight of the last 12 regular-season meetings.

MASL Regular Season- Matchday 2

Kansas City Comets vs St. Louis Ambush

When: Saturday, November 27, 6:05 p.m. CST

Where: Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Missouri

How To Watch: MASLtv

The Comets have already shown promising signs for the season as they enter this season on the back of another Central Cup title during preseason.

Under the leadership of player-coach Leo Gibson, the Comets will be eager to get going after a long preseason. They look to win the Central Division, where their competition includes familiar rivals in the Milwaukee Wave, St. Louis Ambush and Dallas Sidekicks.

The Comets return most of last year’s squad, including their top eight scorers and all three goalkeepers. They also added five rookies to their roster.

Players to Watch:

Ignacio Flores - Has struggled with injuries over the past couple of seasons. Will be a valuable asset in the midfield if he can stay healthy and find some consistency.

Kyle McLagan - Showed well in his Central Cup appearance against Wichita, highlighted by a fantastic goal. The second-year defender signed a partial season contract with the Comets ahead of his return to Iceland’s top tier. As the son of Doug McLagan, a former Comets star, former Comets coach, and SKC II color commentator, McLagan is looking to build from his five-point rookie campaign in five games last season.

Leo Gibson - Third-year player-coach knows the Ambush as good as anyone. Will be interesting to see how the 38-year-old Comets legend manages his roles with a back-to-back. Gibson has been KC’s leader in points in each of the past five seasons.

KC INJURY REPORT

QUESTIONABLE: Mirko Sandivari (right foot contusion)

The light injury report is accompanied by several others who could miss the opening weekend. KC’s impressive rookie duo from last season, consisting of Rian Marques and Lucas Sousa, alongside current rookie Eduardo “Benji” Monreal, are all currently listed as inactive as they deal with paperwork issues. It is likely that they are out for this weekend.

This weekend will be the first two of six meetings scheduled between these two sides this season. This will be the first time KC and St. Louis meet since the Comets swept the Ambush in two games in last season’s playoffs. KC will be looking to snap a four-game regular-season losing streak at Family Arena on Friday, last winning in St. Louis in December 2018.

St. Louis Ambush

This weekend will finally kickstart a new era for the Ambush under head coach Gregg Muhr, who took over after former head coach Hewerton Morerira’s departure in April.

Muhr’s Ambush will look a lot different this season. Veteran forward Max Ferdinand, who accumulated 11 points last season, departed the Ambush and has since returned to the Baltimore Blast. Most notably, the Ambush will be without goalkeeper Paulo Nascimento, who tore his ACL in the preseason.

Among the new faces is Rafa Dias, a veteran goalkeeper who most recently played for the Milwaukee Wave from 2016-2020. Dias, who didn’t feature in either of the two preseason matches for St. Louis, could be out due to visa issues. That would make way for the full debut of Josue Mazon, who played in the Central Cup and had a little MASL experience with the Orlando SeaWolves in 2020.

A pair of Kansas City products could also get their professional debut this weekend. Goalkeeper Tito Favela and midfielder Wyatt Fowler both signed with the Ambush after kickstarting their indoor careers in M3 with Kansas City club Sunflower State FC.

Players to Watch:

JT Thomas - Has scored 11 times against KC in 17 games. Led the Ambush with 25 goals and 34 points in 2019/20 campaign.

Lucas Almeida - Has been with the Ambush since 2015 and has 11 goals and 18 points in 24 games against the Comets throughout his indoor career. The midfielder was STL’s joint leader in assists with nine last season and had the second-most points with 12.

Mo Ndiaye - Entering his first season with the Ambush and impressed in the Central Cup with a couple of goals. Previously tallied 11 goals and 12 assists in two seasons with the Baltimore Blast.

STL Injury Report

OUT: Paulo Nascimento (ACL); Tony Walls (Calf); Stefan Mijatovic (Foot); Duduca Mota (Hamstring)

PROBABLE: Lucas Almeida (Calf)

The addition of Tony Walls and Stefan Mijatovic to the injury report means the Ambush will be without two of their top four scorers from last season. That makes three starters from last season’s starting six out injured, alongside the departure of Max Ferdinand.

Final Predictions

St. Louis has been a hard place to play for the Comets in recent years. With it being their home opener, it's going to be even harder.

I predict the Comets will lose on Friday 7-6 before KC takes the win Saturday 8-5 at home.