COMETS FALL APART LATE IN LOSS TO UTICA CITY

UTICA, NY (January 28, 2024) — The Kansas City Comets (7-5-1) have lost five straight after suffering a 7-3 loss to Utica City FC (10-2-1) on Sunday afternoon at Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York.

The Comets had leveled the score before a back-breaking 49-second spell allowed Utica to score three times in rapid succession. The Comets were unable to claw back before conceding once more in the final seconds of the contest.

The only score of the first quarter came quickly, just 15 seconds into the game when Utica’s Keaton Woods snatched an early opportunity to put the hosts ahead. They thought they had gone up 2-0 late in the first quarter, but the potential goal was called off for handball.

The Comets pulled level in the second quarter when pressure forced a loose ball, which Henry Ramirez pounced on to make it 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the half. Utica eventually retook the lead when a clearance was collected by Nelson Santana, who dispatched it with ease to put UCFC up 2-1 at the halftime break.

Utica went up 3-1 when Franck Tayou scored assisted by Woods. Facing a two-goal deficit, Leo Gibson rose to the occasion when he cut the lead in half as he redirected the ball into the net with his head.

Inside the final minute of the third period, Gibson struck again for his 333rd career goal for the Comets. This time, it was an equalizing goal with a nice chip from a tough angle on the right side. Not only did this goal tie the game at 3-3, but it also tied Gibson with Kevin Koetters for most goals in the history of Kansas City indoor soccer.

Momentum quickly shifted back to the hosts in the fourth period when Steven Fernandez made it 4-3. That was followed by another pair of quick-fire attacks within a 49-second time frame of Fernandez’s goal to go up 6-3. Utica’s Nilton de Andrade scored with nine seconds remaining to make it 7-3 before the final whistle.

The Comets have dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference, trailing Milwaukee by three points. Utica has created some separation in second place with an eight-point cushion over the Comets and a five-point cushion over Milwaukee.

While the team didn’t play poorly, Comets head coach Stefan Stokic is looking for better concentration from his team, “Our main thing is staying focused and staying engaged in the game for four quarters. We lose focus and we get punished.”

The Comets will wrap up their six-game road swing next weekend when they visit the Baltimore Blast on Friday before next Sunday’s visit to the St. Louis Ambush. They return home the following weekend for a back-to-back against the Tacoma Stars (Feb. 9) and Empire Strykers (Feb. 10). Tickets are available at www.kccomets.com/tickets.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st – UTC Woods (Santana) 0:15. Penalties – UTC Moreira (yc- bench misconduct) 14:19.

2nd – KC Ramirez (unassisted) 5:00; UTC Santana (unassisted) 9:37. Penalties – UTC Ndiaye (yc- dissent) 6:05; UTC Ndiaye (yc- dissent) 6:05.

3rd – UTC Tayou (Woods) 5:31; KC Gibson (Sousa) 6:25; KC Gibson (unassisted) 14:01. Penalties — None.

4th – UTC Fernandez (Ndiaye) 5:46; UTC Somow (Tayou) 6:17; UTC Woods (Bond) 6:35; UTC Andrade (Roberts) 14:51 vs 6 attackers. Penalties – None.

Power Play – Comets 0/0, Utica 0/0

Penalty Minutes – Comets 0, Utica 15

Fouls – Comets 16, Utica 15

Shots – Comets 20, Utica 20

Attendance – 3,017