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Comets open season with two games versus St. Louis

The I-70 rivalry starts the league off for the 2022-23 MASL season

Thad Bell

The 2022-23 Major Arena Soccer League season kicks off this weekend with a pair of matches. The Kansas City Comets travel to St. Charles to face the St. Louis Ambush at the Family Arena at 5:05 CT. On Sunday the same two teams travel across I-70 to face each other again at Cable Dahmer Arena on the other side of the state at 6:05 CT.

The Kansas City Comets won the Central division last season and beat the Dallas Sidekicks in the playoffs before coming up short against the Florida Tropics. The San Diego Sockers beat the Tropics to win the Ron Newman Cup.

New(old) teams and conferences

The Covid years curtailed the growth of the league and led to teams stepping away from playing. The Monterrey Flash and the Mesquite Outlaws have returned to the league with more scheduled to join next season.

Another “new” team is the Empire Strykers, which in reality is the rebranded Ontario Fury.

With the return of the two teams, the MASL has organized into two conferences. The Comets are in the Eastern Conference with St Louis, Baltimore Blast, Utica City FC, Harrisburg Heat, Florida Tropics and the Milwaukee Wave.

The Western Conference has Monterrey, Mesquite, Chihuahua Savage, Dallas, San Diego, Tacoma Stars and Empire.

What’s new with the Comets?

The core of the Comets team from last season is back with the addition of a few new faces so lets take a look at the roster.

Goalkeepers: Pretty clear number one in goal is Nicolau Neto or better know as just Neto. With Lou Misner no longer on the roster, the Comets added two new keepers, Steven Tekesky and Sway Mazon. Tekesky played for Sporting Kansas City’s Academy and then had a very good college career at West Virginia. It will take the KC native some time to get up to speed in the indoor game so don’t be surprised if Mazon is the first backup. He has played in Florida and in St Louis and already knows the indoor game.

Defenders: The Comets have some talented veterans that are listed as defenders. John Sosa, Ray Lee, James Togbah, Lesia Thetsane, Richard Schmermund and Mirko Sandivari. Schmermund, the newest to the roster arrived last year with eight years of experience. Count on Sosa to see a lot of minutes on the field and a few in the box but a lot of offense and power play will run through him. Lee and Schmermund add strength. Togbah and Thetsane will very often be in the attack as well.

Midfielders: Running through the list of midfielders there is a trend of some youth and new to the indoor game players alongside the veterans. Chase Bromstedt, Lucas Sousa, Nick McDonald, Henry Ramirez, Lalo Alonso, Nacho Flores, Ali Sodal, Benji Monreal, Milos Vucic and Christian Anderos.

Bromstedt is new to the indoor game after playing for Sporting KC academy, University of Tulsa, Kaw Valley FC and the Las Vegas Lights in the USL Championship.

Lalo joined the Comets last year and only played a couple games but earned a goal and a pair of assists. He has consistently been praised by the coaches as one of the standouts in training camp.

Benji has struggled off the field with visa issues but on the field has been pretty spectacular even earning a Sportscenter top 10 appearance. Do not be surprised to see him take on more responsibility as he gains experience.

Forwards: Ramone Palmer, Felipe Abreu, head coach Leo Gibson, Mike Da Silva, Rian Marques and Junior Kazeem. It looks like coach Gibson will play when needed this year but will probably not see the field as often. If Marques, Da Silva and Kazeem are all healthy they can provide a rotation of strong target forwards that will stress any defense. Kazeem is still learning the indoor game but inside the box he has a nose for goal and likes to “bully defenders”. Marques is a beast and one of the strongest in the league in that target role. Da Silva is just as good outside the box as in and can provide different looks. He has some injury issues last year but is healthy and looked really good in training camp.

Bonus coverage:

Listen to The Blue Turf podcast and go to The Blue Testament YouTube channel to see some interviews with Comets players and coaches.