The Missouri Comets took two big steps towards making the playoffs over the weekend.
Comets 11 - 6 Omaha Vipers
Friday night they defeated the rival Omaha Vipers 11-6. The win pulled the Comets within a half game of the Vipers in the standings.
The Comets Byron Alvarez opened the scoring and Missouri never relinquished the lead. With a goal by Leo Gibson and two more for Alvarez, the Comets led 8-2 with just under 6 minutes left in the game prompting Omaha go to the sixth attacker. The tactic quickly paid off for the Vipers when they scored within 9 seconds and added another with just under 3 minutes left to pull within 2 of the Comets. Vahid Assadpour scored a 3 pointer to seal the deal with just 40 seconds left.
The Vipers and the Comets have not shared a great deal of love since before the season when the two teams scrimmaged. They have gotten to know each other well splitting 6 games this year. There were a couple scuffles and a strange call which I will cover in another post.
Shot almost sneaks past but Riot keeper Joshua Miller stopped this one...
Byron Alvarez grabs a sombrero and dances with team mates after scoring...
Man of the match: Byron Alvarez for his hat trick
Runner-up: Danny Waltman for his outstanding play
Comets 23 - 7 Chicago Riot
Chicago took the lead quickly when they scored just 24 seconds in off a restart. Missouri tied it up at 8:39 when Lucas Rodriguez dribbled through three Chicago players and easily scored on Riot keeper Richey. Chicago scored a 3 pointer late in the first to lead 5-2 going into the second quarter.
Jamar Beasley responded just 26 seconds into the second and from that point on it was all Missouri. A goal by Geison Moura gave the Comets the lead and they never looked back. The third quarter saw three goals by Missouri and they added four more in the fourth to make it a blowout.
The best game the Comets have played and it came after having to travel early in the morning after their win over Omaha the night before. A pair of goals from Beasley, Moura, Alvarez (who is on fire) and Rodriguez (great to see him finding his goal scoring touch) and goals by Assadpour and Waltman. Yes, Waltman. Danny alertly (and accurately) threw the ball into the opposing net when the Riot's sixth attacker did not get back quick enough. Waltman's goal put an exclamation point on the game for Missouri.
Man of the match: Danny Waltman for continuing his great play in goal and for scoring a goal.
Runner-up: Lucas Rodriguez for a pair of goals.
A three game win streak and a two game home winning streak, both season long streaks.
Win the win over Chicago, the Comets pulled even with Omaha for the third and final playoff spot. The first tie breaker is head to head and the two team are tied 3-3. Oddly Omaha and Missouri both won two of their three games at their opponents home. The second tie breaker is total points and Omaha holds the advantage 72-68. A few missed shots in all of those games really hurts.
Both teams have two games remaining.
Vipers remaining games
March 4: Milwaukee at Omaha
March 13: Omaha at Milwaukee
Comets remaining games
March 6: Chicago at Missouri
March 13: Missouri at Baltimore
Baltimore leads Milwaukee by two games in the standings and with only one game left between the two of them, there is little chance that the Wave will catch the Blast. So the question will be how hard the Wave and the Blast will play in their last few games. Will they take it easy and rest stars or will they play to stay sharp?
Milwaukee should win both games against Omaha, they are a far superior team and the Vipers do not seem to be well organized or disciplined at this point.
If the Comets keep up their form, they should be able to defeat the Riot at home before traveling to Baltimore.
So the short version is that the Comets need to finish ahead of Omaha, they need to keep winning to make the post season.