The Kansas City Comets’ path to the Ron Newman Cup will begin this weekend with a quarterfinal best-of-three series with Central Division rival Dallas Sidekicks.
MASL Quarterfinals- Game 1
Kansas City Comets @ Dallas Sidekicks
When: Saturday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Credit Union of Texas Event Center, Allen, Texas
How To Watch: Twitch
Both sides will meet again several days later in Kansas City for a Tuesday-night matchup that could extend past the guaranteed 60 minutes of action.
MASL Quarterfinals- Game 2
Kansas City Comets vs Dallas Sidekicks
When: Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Missouri
How To Watch: Twitch
If the series is split 1-1 after the first two games, the series will be decided by a 15-minute mini game that would take place shortly after the conclusion of game two in KC.
The Comets (13-9-1; 41 points) were among the first to qualify for the playoffs after securing their first Central Division crown since 2016-17. The Central was the only division to have all four of its teams make the playoffs, with KC winning the division and the other three securing wild card spots.
After a 6-0 start to the season, things spiraled out of control in February. Since the beginning of February, the Comets are winless on the road and have lost nine of their last 13.
With just four wins in 13 games, it is safe to say that the Comets are not entering the playoffs in good form. They have lost three straight
While ending the season on the team’s longest losing streak of the season, the Comets should be in better shape for the quarterfinals. Most players are back from injury and the team selection will be the best of the best, something that didn’t happen in the final four games of the season since there was nothing to play for.
Even with the poor run of form, KC still managed to comfortably win the division and lead the division in goals scored (153), penalty kills (42) and least goals conceded (131).
Once again, the MASL will implement video review in the playoffs. Both teams will be able to have one challenge per game, initiated by a coach throwing the challenge flag onto the field.
Players to Watch:
Leo Gibson - The 38-year-old could be playing the final games of his historic career. For the eighth time of his career, he led the Comets in points with 43. For the sixth time in his career, Gibson was KC’s leading goal scorer with 26 goals.
John Sosa - Will be the most experienced postseason player in the series with 33 playoff appearances since 2011-12. Concluded the regular season with 23 assists, leading the Comets in that category for the second time in his career. Also had a career-high 14 goals and 37 points this year.
Benji Monreal - The former Wichita Wing shined in his MASL debut last month, highlighted by two goals. He hasn’t had the chance to follow his impressive debut performance, but Nick Vasos and Erik Bergrud reported in the series preview video that Benji will be back. He could easily become a breakout star over the course of the postseason.
For the second straight season, the Comets took the season series from the Sidekicks 4-2, recording a 2-1 record at KC and in Dallas. KC lost the last two matchups with Dallas, getting outscored 15-6.
The Sidekicks (11-12-1; 33 points) enjoyed their first season near .500 since 2014-15, finishing second in the Central. The early season coaching change, making Ricardinho Cavalcante the head coach, has worked wonders for Dallas.
Finishing the 2021 season last in the MASL, the Sidekicks’ hopes of hoisting the Ron Newman Cup would require the finishing touches on a remarkable turnaround that would take them from worst in 2021 to first in 2022.
Dallas’ only playoff win in the MASL came in 2015, defeating Texas Oxford City 6-5 in the Southern Division semifinal. Overall, the Sidekicks are 1-3 in MASL playoffs from two previous appearances, getting eliminated by the Monterrey Flash in 2015 and facing a two-game sweep against the Ontario Fury in 2021.
Dallas’ form isn’t much better than KC’s. They won just three of their final nine games, including an overtime loss and an overtime win. Dallas is coming from an 8-2 loss away to the Milwaukee Wave on April 2.
Players to Watch:
Jamie Lovegrove - The English midfielder tallied a total of 38 points from 19 goals and 19 assists. In the most productive season of his career, Lovegrove kickstarted Dallas’ best season in half a decade.
Luiz Morales - The rookie forward scored 22 goals, but hasn’t scored in over a month after playing just once in the past month. Morales scored four times against the Comets in his last two meetings with KC.
Juan Gamboa - With Gamboa, Dallas is 11-7-1. Without Gamboa, Dallas is 0-5. He has been a rock in goal, leading the MASL with 264 saves and leading the Central with 11 wins.
If the Comets make a run, they will need to make great improvements in front of goal.
I think this series will require three games. After a 7-4 loss on Saturday, I think the Comets take game two 8-4 and game three 2-0.