MASL Regular Season- Matchday 10
Kansas City Comets vs Dallas Sidekicks
When: Saturday, January 29, 6 p.m. CST
Where: Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Missouri
How To Watch: MASLtv
The Kansas City Comets are back in divisional action this weekend as they welcome the Dallas Sidekicks to Cable Dahmer Arena for the first time this season on Saturday, Jan. 29.
Coming off a big win over the Tacoma Stars, Kansas City is looking for their first divisional win in three weeks, last beating the Sidekicks in Dallas on Jan. 8 before falling on the road to the St. Louis Ambush on Jan. 14.
Much of the talk has been surrounding player-coach Leo Gibson. Along with scoring his 400th MASL point, Gibson hit a couple of other milestones in last week’s win at T-Mobile Center. This week Gibson was brought on MASL Midweek where he discussed his career, growing up during a civil war in his native Liberia and his Kick for Christ charity that he founded alongside indoor soccer veteran Worteh Sampson.
After last week’s four-goal performance, Gibson now leads the league with 25 points from 16 goals and nine assists. He is now just five goals away from tying Wes Wade for most goals in Kansas City's professional indoor soccer history.
Could he tie Wade’s record of 280 goals on Saturday? It's possible. Gibson has four five-goal performances in his MASL career, the last coming on Jan. 26, 2020, scoring six goals in a 12-4 win against the Rochester Lancers. His record for most goals in a game came from an eight-goal showing in a 17-1 win against Tacoma on Feb. 22, 2015.
Players to Watch:
John Sosa - The Comets captain is having a career year with 2.0 points per game. He is second in the league with 11 assists. With seven goals and at least 14 regular-season games left, Sosa is on track to get a career-high in goals (had 13 goals in 2013/14 and 2014/15).
Adam James - Started out last season on fire with 17 goals between the three Central Cup games and the first nine regular-season games. Since March of 2021, the goals have dried up as he has now gone 16 games without a goal, adding three assists in that period. Had some goal-saving blocks last week that may give him more confidence.
Lesia Thetsane - Scored a pair of nice goals last week to open his MASL account. Full of confidence, he can now push forward his candidacy for rookie of the year.
KC Injury Report
OUT: Henry Ramirez (right knee); James Togbah (left toe)
QUESTIONABLE: Nicolau Neto (left knee and illness)
Nicolau Neto has been a key component to KC’s success. In his third season in the league, Neto has a career-best 4.57 goals against average (2nd in league), a save percentage of 74 percent (3rd in league) and eight wins (tied 1st in league).
If Neto is out for Saturday's contest, we will likely see the season debut of Lou Misner. The Oak Park High School graduate picked up a pair of wins against Dallas in both of his appearances last season, collecting a total of 16 saves between the two contests. Mark Saxby is no longer available after moving to Montana, concluding his Comets career with a 12-7 regular-season record in five seasons with the Comets.
The Comets (8-1; 24 points) have some breathing room as they sit nine points clear of the Ambush and Sidekicks at the top of the Central Division.
KC has won all four meetings with the Sidekicks inside Cable Dahmer Arena. Three of those meetings came last season when KC outscored Dallas 36-14. Dallas’ only win came in 2019, getting a 5-2 win in Dallas.
Showing some encouraging signs over the past month, the Sidekicks’ progress turned sideways last week with a pair of losses to the Florida Tropics, getting outscored 25-10.
Dallas (5-6; 15 points), currently in third place of the Central Division, enters this weekend level with the second-place St. Louis Ambush (5-5; 15 points) on 15 points. Dallas sits fifth in the overall standings, meaning they would be one of the five wild card teams to make the playoffs without winning the division.
Following the dismissal of former head coach Pablo Da Silva after an 0-3 start to the season, interim head coach Ricardinho Cavalcante has turned things around, boasting a record of 5-3 since he took over.
Players to Watch:
Luiz Morales - The early rookie of the year frontrunner has been Dallas’ best player, averaging 20 points per game. Leads the Sidekicks with 20 points, 14 goals and six assists.
Jamie Lovegrove - Carries 1.6 points per game since his move from San Deigo to Dallas last month. In eight games, the Englishman has eight goals and five assists.
Mike Jones - Former Sporting KC 2011 MLS SuperDraft pick is second in the league with 14 blocks. With 30 points in over 100 games, Jones has proven to be a strong defender who doesn’t venture forward too often.
The pressure is on Dallas to close the gap. Conceding a league-high 77 goals this season, Dallas will need to find a way to silence one of the league’s most dangerous attacks, which has outscored opponents 30-12 in three games at home this season.
I predict a 9-5 win for the Comets.