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Comets open playoffs with solid road win over Sidekicks

The Comets are one win away from a second straight semifinal berth.

Thad Bell

The Kansas City Comets took care of business in game one of their opening-round matchup of the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs with the Dallas Sidekicks, claiming a 7-3 road win on Saturday, April 9.

Level 1-1 at halftime, the Comets outscored the Sidekicks 6-2 in the second half to run away with the four-goal win.

Ignacio Flores was among the stars for Kansas City with two goals, scoring multiple times in the same game for the first time since December of 2018. John Sosa also contributed a goal and an assist, both coming from restarts.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first quarter, Flores equalized for the Comets, firing a shot into the corner with under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Both keepers made some big saves throughout the first half, holding the score to 1-1 with KC outshooting Dallas 18-8 in the first 30 minutes.

The Comets took over in the second half. It began with Lesia Thetsane before Sosa blasted in a restart. From a corner kick restart, Sosa found Flores streaking through the middle to put the visitors ahead 4-1 with seven minutes remaining in the third.

Ray Lee found the back of the net, however, the goal was called back after Dallas won a coach's challenge for too many men. Instead of a 5-1 lead, Dallas made it 4-2 after Jamie Lovegrove’s powerplay goal.

The Comets extended their lead to 5-2 when Benji Monreal fired in to finish a fantastic effort. Desperate for a goal, the Sidekicks were given a penalty kick after Leo Gibson was given a two-minute penalty for a handball inside the box. The Comets used their challenge, and the call was changed to a restart just outside the box.

Against the sixth attacker and shorthanded, James Togbah showcased his speed to score with the help of the wall, putting KC up 6-2 with a little over four minutes remaining. Dallas pulled one back from Sebastian Mendez before Thetsane score his second of the game, giving the Comets a 7-3 win in game one of the quarterfinals.

Scoring six goals in the second half, the Comets played much of the final half without target forward Rian Marques due to foul trouble. The team’s third-leading goal scorer had four first-half fouls, resulting in a two-minute penalty, and was two fouls from a red card.

Conceding three goals in which he might have been able to do better, Comets keeper Nicolau Neto concluded the night with 11 saves and his fourth career playoff win.

The Sidekicks outshot the Comets 13-12 in the second half, but KC still had the overall edge 30-21. On special teams, KC went 0 for 2 on the powerplay and killed 2 of 4 penalties.

Dallas’ only multi-point scorer was Lovegrove, recording a goal and an assist. Picking up the loss, Juan Gamboa had 16 saves.

Saturday’s win was quite relieving for a Comets team that had lost three straight and without a road win since January, snapping a six-game losing streak away from home.

The Comets will look for the two-game sweep of the Sidekicks on Tuesday when both sides meet again at Cable Dahmer Arena. If Dallas wins game two, a winner-takes-all 15-minute mini game will follow game two’s conclusion.