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Comets looking to clinch division title at home against Dallas

The last Comets team to win a division title, in 2017, included players Stephen Patterson, Vahid Assadpour and Brian Harris.

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Thad Bell

MASL Regular Season- Matchday 20

Kansas City Comets vs Dallas Sidekicks

When: Sunday, March 20, 4:00 p.m. CST

Where: Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Missouri

Tickets: Ticketmaster

How To Watch: MASLtv; 38 the Spot (regionally)

The Kansas City Comets and Dallas Sidekicks will face off for one final time this season on Sunday, March 11 at Cable Dahmer Arena.

With a playoff spot secured, the Comets will clinch the Central Division on Sunday if they avoid a loss in regulation. It would be KC’s first divisional/conference title since 2016/17.

Despite recent slip-ups, the Comets (12-5-1; 38 points) have still proven to be in a class of their own in the Central. KC has been especially good at home, posting a 7-0-1 record and outscoring opponents 76-38 at home.

With the current standings, the Comets (3 seed) would face the Ontario Fury (6 seed) in a home-and-home in the first round of the playoffs. There is still plenty of time for that to change with the seeding still up for grabs.

The Comets are coming from beating the Milwaukee Wave 8-6 last Friday. The playoff-clinching win was overshadowed by Leo Gibson becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in KC indoor soccer history.

Steven Hamersky picked up the win last week for KC as the Comets became the third team in the MASL to have three goalkeepers record a win. Joining from the Wichita Wings in M2, Hamersky is expected back for Sunday. Overlooked in last week’s win was Lucas Sousa and Rian Marques both being held without a point.

Players to Watch:

Benji Monreal - In his Comets debut last week, the rookie was one of the standout players and scored a fantastic goal. Could become a crucial addition heading into the playoffs.

John Sosa - Last week’s hat trick hero, Sosa also recorded his third four-point game of the season. The master of restarts has 36 points from 14 goals and a team-leading 22 assists, trailing Gibson one point for the team lead.

Mike Da-Silva - Da-Silva’s first full season with the Comets has been interrupted by injury, resulting in just two goals in eight games after averaging 1.6 PPG last season. KC will need him and others to be available to play at a high level in the postseason.

KC Availability Report

OUT: Henry Ramirez (right knee sprain); Nacho Flores (right ankle sprain); Absalom Solorio (right knee sprain); Lou Misner (right rib fracture)

DOUBTFUL: Christian Duke (right ankle rehab)

PROBABLE: Mike Da-Silva (right quad strain)

The Comets lead the division on the penalty kill, terminating 33 of 51 power plays.

The series between these two sides has been dominated by the Comets. Dallas has never won at CBA, but they pulled away from KC in their most recent meeting on March 6 in Texas to take the 8-3 win.

Dallas Sidekicks

Sitting 11 points behind the Comets, the second-place Sidekicks (9-10-1; 27 points) are edging closer to locking down a wild card spot. They sit eight points above the dropoff, though Dallas still has a tough schedule ahead with two games against Milwaukee split apart by a date with the Ontario Fury.

Sunday’s visitors were outscored 16-5 across their two losses in Chihuahua last weekend. The Sidekicks are 2-7-1 on the road this season with both road wins coming on New Years' weekend over St. Louis and Milwaukee.

Dallas is looking to replicate the performance they had last time out against KC. The Sidekicks pitched a second-half shutout against KC on March 6 as they took an 8-3 win.

Dallas is backed by goalkeeper Juan Gamboa, who leads the league with 234 saves. In one the best seasons of his career, the Brownsville, Texas native enters Sunday with a 9-6-1 record.

Players to Watch:

Jamie Lovegrove - Leads the Sidekicks with 2.1 points per game since moving from San Diego. His 31 points for Dallas are from 16 goals and 15 assists.

Luiz Morales - The Rookie of the Year favorite has a team-leading 22 goals, averaging 1.9 points per game. Had two goals and an assist in the win over KC on March 6.

Gustavo Piedra - The Dallas midfielder is having a career year in offensive production with 11 points from three goals and eight assists. Still has yet to register a goal against KC this season.

DAL Availability Report

OUT: Oscar Romero (chest pain); Chase Coy; JJ Oteze (knee); Erik Macias (groin)

SUSPENDED: Cody Ellis (offensive, insulting, obscene or abusive language and/or gesture)

Final Predictions

Over the past two seasons, the Comets have outscored the Sidekicks 58-24 in five games at Cable Dahmer Arena. A focused and disciplined Comets team should be able to handle this Sidekicks team without an issue.

I predict a 10-5 win for the Comets on Sunday.