You Make Me Feel Like Lancing
The Rochester Lancers set what is believed to be an indoor soccer record for most losses to start a season with 21. It might even be a professional sports record, matched only by the 1988 Baltimore Orioles. The streak ended with a 9-7 win over the Kansas City Comets in the Lancers final home game of 2019-20. Player/coach Doug Miller scored two goals and Gary Boughton scored in his farewell game.
It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Best of Times
What a whirlwind week the Kansas City Comets had. It started with a too-close-for-comfort 8-6 home win over the struggling Orlando SeaWolves. Then on Saturday, the Comets had the opportunity to play the 0-21 Rochester Lancers and essentially got blown out, though the final 9-7 score sounds more respectable than it was. Player/coach Leo Gibson got a red card in the game meaning he would miss Sunday’s game in Utica.
For whatever reason, when Kansas City lost several players to injury and outdoor soccer team commitments in January, the Comets didn’t address their lineup holes at the roster freeze. Instead they have been dressing 10-12 field players per game instead of the maximum 14. With Gibson suspended, the Comets went to Utica with 10 field players. Gibson is also the Comets leading scorer by a huge margin, so when Kansas City trailed 6-2 with four minutes left it seemed like a decent loss under the circumstances.
But then the unthinkable happened. Adam James scored on a tap-in with 3:45 left. James Togbah got a penalty and Robert Palmer scored a power play goal with 3:09 left. Palmer scored again with 1:02 left to cut it to 6-5. Palmer completed a natural hat trick with a rebound goal after Andrew Coughlin failed to hold on to John Sosa’s high shot to tie the game with 18 seconds left. A mere 25 seconds into overtime Gui Gomes scored on a one-timer when it appeared that Coughlin was screened by Darren Toby.
Cocoon the Return
Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn, er Doug Miller and Sagu, struck a blow for the geriatric set. Miller, who will turn 51 on May 5, likely became the oldest indoor soccer player to score a goal with his shootout goal late in the first half against the Florida Tropics. Miller only took one touch and then launched a rocket past Brett Petricek. Miller also had two assists in that game and then added two goals against the Comets for his first five points since the 2015-16 season.
In Mesquite, with one goalie hurt, and one goalie on a call-up with the US National Futsal Team, 46-year old Outlaws assistant coach Sagu was pressed back into service. In his first game since 2015, Sagu allowed seven goals, but picked up his 177th career win, topping the Turlock Express 11-7. The man he beat? 42-year old Sanaldo Carvalho.
“Turn up the heat, I can handle the Blast,” were lyrics to an old Blast theme song, but the Heat could not handle the Blast when it counted the most. On Saturday the Blast topped Harrisburg 9-5 to take a 1 1/2 game lead in the standings and gain a split in the season series. Both teams won 7-4 and 9-5 games at home in the four game series. On Saturday the Blast took a quick 3-0 lead in the first quarter when William Banahene had a case of the yips. The second year goalie gave up four soft goals before settling in to minimize the damage. Where he was so sure-handed the last time the teams met (Heat Gain Advantage in Playoff Chase with 9-5 Win Over Blast), he had trouble getting a grip on the ball all night in Baltimore. There was a silver lining for the Heat as they trailed 8-5 late in the game, which was a small enough margin to give them the tie-breaker in the season series on head to head goals. But Baltimore, leading by three, went to the sixth attacker late and scored a crucial goal with eight seconds left to even the total goals at 25-25.
Franck 4 MVP
There is a growing body of evidence that Franck Tayou is going to become the fifth player to win at least four MVP awards, where he would join Steve Zungul (7), Hector Marinaro and Tatu (6), and Victor Nogueira (4). Tayou leads the league in goals (47) and points (65) and has a career high 18 assists, while leading the Ontario Fury to a 10-2 record in their last 12 games. Tayou has scored at least one goal in 33 straight regular season games and leads the league with 10 hat tricks (including six in his last seven games) and eight game-winning goals.
The Florida Tropics hit some adversity with injuries to Gordy Gurson, Matt Clare, Joey Tavernese. Clare is out for the season and Gurson was unceremoniously released last week. Florida had a rough 10-7 win in Rochester where they had cruised to an easy 17-4 win earlier this year. That close score looked better in retrospect after Rochester beat Kansas City for their first win of the year. Florida looked more sure of themselves back at home against the St. Louis Ambush where they delivered a convincing 14-6 win behind Zach Reget’s eight point night.
Somehow Utica, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Harrisburg all control their own destiny. Win and they’re in. It looks like if the Blast beat Milwaukee and the Heat win their last four games, Baltimore and Harrisburg will be in and the Wave will be the odd team out. There is even a possibility of a four-way tie. The MASL (and Science) haven’t quite worked out all the permutations, so the best thing each team can do is WIN.
That starts tonight. The Heat wouldn’t be eliminated with a home loss against Utica tonight, but their season would be on life support.
Friday the San Diego Sockers can virtually finish off the Tacoma Stars (if that game is played as scheduled).
Saturday the Monterrey Flash visit the Sonora Soles again. The Soles just handed the Flash their second loss of the season to bolster their playoff standing.
Sunday’s hot ticket is the Blast at Milwaukee.
Last Week: 1
The Flash lost the first of what could be six straight games against Sonora.
The Tropics kept their slim hopes of surpassing Monterrey alive, while distancing themselves from Utica in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee got six-goal games from Ian Bennett and Isaac Pereyra to double-rout the SeaWolves 11-3 and 12-6.
Kraig Chiles was defiant about the Sockers past struggles after a solid 6-2 win over Tacoma.
There have been a half dozen major collapses this year (see Dallas below), but it’s been a long time since anyone blew a four goal lead in the final four minutes of a game, let alone to a badly shorthanded Kansas City Football Club.
The Blast rose to the occasion and defended their home turf, putting them on the verge of clinching a playoff spot for the 13th straight year.
Whether the Heat make the playoffs or not, the future is very bright on and off the field for a Harrisburg franchise that is still trying to re-establish itself in their market in their eighth season back from a long hiatus.
Sonora stepped up and got back to .500 after wins against Utica and Monterrey.
Ontario stayed hot with an overtime win over Tacoma. Franck Tayou with the game-winner in sudden death.
The Ambush will try to finish this season better than they finished last season, but the Wave are up next before winnable games against Mesquite and Kansas City to end the season.
The Comets won two out of three and pulled off the most stunning comeback of the season, but losing to Rochester keeps them at #11 this week.
The low fuel light is on for the Stars. Nick Perera only has four points in his last six games, a 2-4 stretch for Tacoma.
Turlock lost to Mesquite but came back from 6-1 down in Dallas to win 8-7 to improve to 8-12, a five win improvement over last season.
The Outlaws had a fun night with Sagu back in the nets and a relatively easy 11-7 home win over the Express.
Dallas has been nearly winless and now they can add blowing a 6-1 lead to their growing list of dubious franchise records.
This has been a lost season for Orlando, but giving Piotr Sliwa a farewell game in Milwaukee was a nice way for the six-year veteran to go out on his own terms.
It turns out all the Lancers were missing was their 50-year old legend physically showing them how it’s done on the field.