The 2021/22 campaign for the Kansas City Comets came to a close on Saturday night, dropping games two and three on the road against the Florida Tropics in the Ron Newman Cup semifinals.
The Comets’ season concludes after losing the semifinal series 2-1 against the Tropics, one win shy of making their first finals appearance.
Bowing out in the mini game at the semifinal stage for the second straight season, the Comets paid for their defensive errors and failed to show a killer instinct on offense.
Entering Saturday, the Comets needed just one win, either in game two or the mini game if Florida won game two. Florida had to win both game two and the mini game. The latter happened as Florida showed great discipline in closing out both games to secure its first-ever indoor soccer finals appearance.
Florida was ahead for more than 65 minutes of a total of the 75 minutes played on Saturday.
The Tropics opened the scoring in game one as the Comets attempted to press the Tropics in the midfield, Florida quickly exposed the space behind as Ricardo Carvalho found Victor Parreiras for a tap-in with just over six minutes gone in the first quarter. With under five minutes remaining in the first, the Tropics went 2-0 up when Drew Ruggles cranked a shot from distance as Nicolau Neto was unable to keep it out despite getting his hands to it.
The second quarter was much improved for the Comets. After getting outshot 8-5 in the first frame, the visitors showed dominance in the second quarter by outshooting Florida 9-3. The Comets only had one goal to show for it, an effort from Milos Vucic that he calmly rolled past the keeper after KC caught Florida with a quick restart.
The defensive battle continued deep into the third quarter when Florida restored its two-goal lead with a well-worked goal from the hosts, disorganizing the Comets defense with a terrific passing sequence that was finished off by Carvalho.
With over 10 minutes remaining in the game, Breno Oliveira struck on the counterattack to put Florida up 4-1.
Oliveira's beautiful fourth quarter goal. pic.twitter.com/dEYDn5Vy9W— MASL (@MASLarena) April 24, 2022
Playing with the sixth attacker, John Sosa pulled one back for Kansas City, though it was not enough as Florida forced a 15-minute mini game after winning game two 4-2.
It took just 35 seconds before the Tropics took the lead in the mini game. The Comets badly misplayed a long toss from the Tropics keeper, allowing Ricardo De Queiroz Diegues to latch on to the end of it and chip it over Neto.
Zack Reget put Florida up 2-0 just over three minutes into the mini game, scoring with a composed volley just inside the far post to finish a terrific ball from Pareirras. The Comets made it 2-1 when Rian Marques poked in his first of the night with 11 minutes, 15 seconds to play.
Exactly one minute later Diegues scored his second of the mini game for Florida, catching James Togbah dancing with the ball as the last defender before Diegues slotted it past Neto playing off his line.
With the help of the sixth attacker, Marques scored his second of the night to make it 3-2 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds remaining, finishing Leo Gibson’s service across the face of the goal. Scrambling for the equalizer, the Comets conceded a fourth goal in the mini game as Anthony Rico rolled it into an open net in the final second as the Tropics won the mini game 4-2.
Tropics keeper Rainer Hauss was big for the hosts, making 15 saves in game two and five saves in the mini game. Neto had several big stops for KC but also had some questionable moments while making a total of seven saves and conceding eight goals across both games.
One excuse the Comets may have for their offensive struggles is the new turf in Florida. Rolling out brand new turf at this stage of the season seems to be questionable. It certainly did not help KC as they blasted a number of shots way over, scoring on just two of 30 shots in game two.
Excuses aside, Florida looked like the better team on Saturday. Aside from not creating much on the power play and missing both challenges, Florida was thorough in execution on both ends of the floor.
The Tropics advance to the Ron Newman Cup championship series, where they will face the winner of the series between the San Digo Sockers and Chihuahua Savage.