It was a tough night for the Kansas City Comets as they fell in overtime to the Chihuahua Savage by a final score of 6-5 on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Cable Dahmer Arena.
The home crowd left disappointed as the Comets' offense struggled, blowing a two-goal lead and getting outscored 4-1 in the second half. Saturday’s defeat was especially shocking considering the Savage played the previous night and entered the weekend with just one win and seven losses.
Lou Misner got his second start of the season, replacing the injured Nicolau Neto. Kevin Ellis was out due to a family emergency.
The opening minutes were rough for the Comets, including a couple of big chances missed. The roughest moment came when Chihuahua got on the scoreboard first as Bryan Macias’ effort rolled through Misner with 8:51 left in the first quarter.
Misner and the Comets had a promising response. With 7:12 remaining in the first, KC’s Lesia Thetsane fired in his third of the season to level the score at 1-1. The Comets were denied the go-ahead goal after Thetsane’s shot on goal was cleared off the line by a Chihuahua defender’s hand. Comets captain John Sosa stepped up and converted the penalty kick to put KC up 2-1.
The Savage drew level at 2-2 when Hugo Puentes caught the Comets out of position from a restart with 8:21 left in the second quarter. Seven seconds later, Adam James fired the Comets back in front as he brought an end to his 17-game drought without a goal. Lucas Sousa put the Comets ahead 4-2 with a shot high into the net with 4:02 left in the first half.
Another pivotal moment came with around three minutes left in the half. A Chihuahua shot was knocked away by Sosa, who played it to James, who managed to score with a tremendous solo effort. After a quick meeting amongst the officials, they denied KC a three-goal lead, ruling that Sosa’s block was a handball. KC went on to successfully kill the two-minute penalty but entered halftime with just a two-goal lead.
Following a scoreless third period, the Savage came storming back as goals from Carlos Hernandez and Jorge Ríos 71 seconds apart tied the game 4-4 with 6:22 remaining.
Sosa put the Comets back in front with his second dead-ball goal of the night, rifling a shot high into the net from a free kick with 3:22 left in regulation. With 1:43 remaining, Chihuahua’s Macias scored his second of the night to level the score at 5-5 and send the game to overtime.
It took the Savage 82 seconds to find the sudden-death overtime winner. Ríos fought past Sosa and found Brayan Aguilar alone at the back post as the team that entered this week with just one win in eight games produced two wins in two days.
The Comets (9-1-1) picked up a point from the overtime loss and still remain in first place of the Central Division. Kansas City still sits in a good position in the Central with eight points clear of the second-place Dallas Sidekicks and three games in hand.
Held without a point for the second time this season, Comets player-coach Leo Gibson did not mince words after the game, describing his team’s performance as terrible.
“We did not play a good game,” Gibson said. “That includes myself. I don’t remember connecting a single pass, getting a good shot off. I think all of us, starting with me, we did not play to our full potential.”
The second half was notably disappointing for the Comets as they scored just once late in the fourth.
“It just seemed like we couldn’t find a rhythm,” Gibson said. “We just couldn’t play the way we left off.”
After having a howler in the first quarter, Misner went on to supply some tremendous saves. The Comets backup keeper ended the night with 14 saves and stopped 70 percent of shots faced.
KC had three players with multi-point performances. Sosa’s brace was joined by Thetsane and Sousa each a goal and an assist. Rian Marques was held off the scoresheet for the first time this season, getting three shots off.
Gibson did admit that one of the few positives was James breaking his goalscoring drought. Putting in good work defensively all season, James was finally able to open his scoring account in Saturday’s loss.
“We knew when it happened, hopefully, things would turn around and he would get his confidence back,” Gibson said. “We are just going to keep pushing him. Hopefully, this is the start to him finding his game again offensively.”
Before Saturday, James’ last goal was on Feb. 21, 2021, against Dallas. Since then, he went 17 games with just three points from assists.
“It feels good, it’s a relief,” James said about getting back on the scoresheet. “Honestly, I would give up my goal for the win for the team. I would rather have a win than a goal any day. But it does feel good; a small victory for me today.”
Starting his drought last season, James still managed to finish the year as KC’s second-leading goalscorer with 11 goals. Continuing his poor form into the beginning of this season, James still has half the season to produce more offensively.
“I had a slow start to the season. I know I’m capable of much more,” James said. “Just building the confidence. Getting one goal and building off that.”
The Comets are back in action next weekend they duel it out with the Milwaukee Wave in a home-and-home series, visiting Wisconsin on Saturday before returning home on Sunday.