MASL Regular Season- Matchday 3
Kansas City Comets @ Dallas Sidekicks
When: Saturday, December 11, 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: Allen Event Center, Allen, Texas
How To Watch: MASLtv
The Kansas City Comets are looking to avoid an upset in Saturday’s visit to the Dallas Sidekicks. With a new head coach, the Sidekicks are searching for a formula to bring them close to .500 for the first time since 2014/15.
Starting the season on Thanksgiving weekend, the Comets won both games against the St. Louis Ambush. The Comets ran out with a 6-4 come-from-behind win on the road. Getting out to a big lead in the first quarter of game two, KC overcame a second-quarter collapse to win 11-6 in the home opener.
KC (2-0) enters Saturday as one of two teams with two wins and sits in first place in the Central Division with six points. A win would keep the Comets in first place, though divisional rival Milwaukee Wave kicks off their season this weekend before the two meet at the end of this month.
Third-year player-coach Leo Gibson is among the best in the league once again. With high expectations for this season, the opportunity to start the season with a 2-0 road record and 3-0 overall would put the Comets in a good position.
Players to Watch
Leo Gibson- Player-coach leads the MASL in points with seven and goals with five. Also leads the league with 3.5 points per game and two game-winning goals. Recorded a hat trick in the home opener. Impressive start considering the 38-year-old showed that production with the first back-to-back of the season.
John Sosa- After two games Sosa has already equaled his goals tally of two from last season’s 12 games. Five blocks has the Comets captain tied with Kyle McLagan and Florida's Chad Vandergriffe for most in the MASL.
Kevin Ellis- After being held scoreless in game one, the former Sporting KC defender recorded his fourth career Comets hat trick in game two. Tied for the league lead with two power play goals.
KC INJURY REPORT
PROBABLE: Mirko Sandivari (right foot sprain); Ramone Palmer (left knee stiffness); Nick McDonald (right wrist sprain)
The good news for the Comets is the return of Matt Lewis, returning for the winter ahead of Detroit City FC’s debut season in the USL Championship. Lewis won’t be in action this weekend but is expected to be available next Sunday against the Baltimore Blast. Additionally, reigning MASL Rookie of the Year Lucas Sousa has been cleared to play against Dallas. Still battling visa issues is Felipe Abreu, Eduardo “Benji” Monreal and Rian Marques.
The Comets have dominated the Sidekicks in the modern era. KC has a 7-1 record versus Dallas since 2014, outscoring them 73-34 in those eight regular-season meetings. Dallas’ only win over the Comets came in 2019 in Texas, winning 5-2 a day after KC beat the Mesquite Outlaws.
KC has a 3-1 record in Dallas. The Comets won all four regular-season meetings last season, scoring double-digits in all three of the meetings in Kansas City.
Dallas Sidekicks was once a franchise with legendary indoor soccer success and home to Tatu, a Sidekicks and indoor soccer great. The Sidekicks’ success is highlighted with eight league title appearances with championship wins in the 1987 MISL, 1993 CISL, 1998 PSA and 2001 WISL. After the 2003/04 season, the Sidekicks disappeared.
Returning to indoor soccer in 2012, the Sidekicks haven’t come close to the success they previously had. Before last season, the Sidekicks previously made the playoffs in 2014/15. With only seven competing teams last season, the league decided to let everyone compete in the playoffs, including the 1-10 Sidekicks. Dallas fell in the opening round after getting swept by the Ontario Fury.
They cleaned shop over the offseason with the president and a new head coach. That head coach, Pablo Da Silva, is entering his first season as a head coach in the MASL after an extensive indoor soccer playing career that included stops in Milwaukee, Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Tacoma and St. Louis.
The Sidekicks opened the season with an 8-4 loss against the St. Louis Ambush last weekend. After Luiz Morales and Brenden Lee scored to grab an early 2-0 lead for Dallas, the Ambush came back to score eight unanswered until Dallas added a couple of late goals.
Dallas (0-1) sits at the bottom of the Central Division with no points.
Players to Watch
Luiz Morales- The 22-year-old Iriving, Texas native scored a hat trick in his MASL debut last weekend against the Ambush. All three goals were very well taken with power sent to the top shelf.
Felipe De Souza- A bright spot for the Sidekicks last season with 17 goals in nine games, finishing second in the league for most goals. Earned 2nd Team All-MASL honors last season. Scored 11 goals with three hat tricks in four games versus KC last season. Recorded one assist and three shots in last weekend’s loss.
Mike Jones- The 2011 Sporting KC MLS SuperDraft second-round pick has had a steady indoor career in Dallas, originally joining the Sidekicks in 2014. The defender featured in all four matches against the Comets last season.
There is no question that the Comets are the better team on paper. Despite the lowest winning percentage in franchise history last season, eight of Dallas’ 10 losses were within three goals. For the Comets, away results haven’t been easy in recent years.
I predict the Comets come away with a 9-5 win Saturday.