by Jeff Husted

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 14, 2017) – The Kansas City Comets return home from their two-game California road trip with a pair of wins, including a 7-6 thrilling victory tonight over the San Diego Sockers. Alain Matingou led all scorers with his first career hat trick, including the game winner with 21.4 seconds left in the game.

The Comets came into tonight’s game with the confidence of a big win last night in Ontario. The team held much of the possession in the opening quarter. Defender Brian Harris opened up the scoring with just under four minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

Matingou scored his first goal of the game to open up the second quarter. Leo Gibson scored a goal in his seventh straight game and Matingou scored his second goal before the half ended. At the break, the Comets led 4-0 and seemed to be cruising to a victory.

The San Diego Sockers boast a powerful offense that has kept them on top of the Major Arena Soccer League’s Pacific Division for most of the season.

Holding a 5-1 lead after a Vahid Assadpour score early in the second half, the Comets defense broke down to the tune of five straight San Diego goals. Former Comets forward Max Touloute scored two goals in the Sockers run, including the score that put San Diego ahead 6-5 early in the 4th quarter.

Kansas City regrouped and attacked the San Diego defense throughout the remainder of the period. Guerrero Pino parked himself on the San Diego back post as Ramone Palmer beat the defense and found him wide open for the equalizing score with three minutes remaining in the game.

As both teams tried to find the goal in the final minutes, Ignacio Flores poked a ball to a streaking Matingou on the left side of the field who spun around his defender and beat goalkeeper Boris Pardo to the score. With 21.4 seconds left on the clock, the Comets now held a 7-6 lead.

The score held up and the Comets now hold a share of first place in the MASL’s Central Division. Kansas City now looks to pull away from the pack and continue their three-game winning streak next Friday at home against the Syracuse Silver Knights.