Comets reignite rivalry against Baltimore Blast
The Kansas City Comets (7-5-1) hope to end a five-game losing streak Friday evening as they reignite their rivalry with the Baltimore Blast (4-5-1).
Friday's matchup will have a significant impact at the middle of the Eastern Conference standings, as the Comets sit fourth and the Blast sit fifth. If the Comets escape their losing skid, they will open up a 15-point gap. If the Blast win, they will close the gap to nine points with three games in hand.
The Comets' losing skid began at home when they lost in overtime against Utica City FC. Since then, they have lost four straight on the road in regulation with two losses in Monterrey and losses in Chihuahua and Utica.
The Comets will be without rookie Mikey Lenis (right ankle sprain) while leading scorer Zach Reget (illness) is questionable and midfielder Lalo Alonso (right thigh strain) is probable.
Leo Gibson could become the all-time leading goal scorer in Kansas City indoor soccer history. He scored twice in the loss against UCFC, moving him level with Kevin Koetters' record of 333 goals.
The Comets will look to improve offensively after scoring just five times over the past two games. All six of the Comets’ leading goal scorers were kept off the scoresheet in Utica.
The Comets lost all three matchups last year against the Blast, including two losses at TU Arena. The Comets are looking to snap a six-game losing streak against Baltimore, last beating them in 2016. The Comets have lost all four visits to TU Arena, last winning in Baltimore when they played at Royal Farms Arena in 2016.
The Blast enter the matchup under third-year head coach David Bascome, who led the Blast to last year's Ron Newman Cup Finals. Bascome has had the duty of building the next era of Blast icons following the departures of former Blast stars Max Ferdinand, Lucas Roque and William Vanzela.
Vanzela's replacement as goalkeeper has been a combination effort from Mike Zierhoffer and Quantrell Jones. Zierhoffer has posted a 2-3-1 record with a 5.08 goals against average while stopping 68% of shots. Jones has a 2-2-0 record with a 7.30 goals against average while saving 60% of shots.
Offensively, the Blast have been led by Juan Pereira, Tony Donatelli and Moises Gonzalez. The trio have combined for 40 points with Donatelli tallying a team-high nine goals.
Baltimore has lost two straight on the road. After getting feasted on by the St. Louis Ambush 8-3, Baltimore became the first victim to lose against the Harrisburg Heat this season as they lost 4-3 in overtime last weekend.
Following a disappointing two-game road swing, the Blast will be delighted to return home to TU Arena. Baltimore has won each of the last three home games after losing their opening two home games this season.
Baltimore will be without veteran forward Jamie Thomas, who has contributed two goals and an assist in nine games.
The Comets will have a quick turnaround ahead of Sunday's I-70 matchup at The Family Arena against the St. Louis Ambush. The Comets return home next week for clashes against the Tacoma Stars for the Celebrity Game (Fri, Feb. 9) and Empire Strykers for the Red Out game (Sat, Feb. 10). Tickets for these highly anticipated matchups are available at www.kccomets.com/tickets.