April 8, 2023
By Fred Liggett
Following a long and at times arduous journey through a 24 game regular season it’s time for MASL teams to kick off the post-season in hopes of raising the Ron Newman Cup when it’s all over.
For the Kansas City Comets it means it’s time to play in a #4 vs #5 seed play-in game. The Comets finished the regular season at 11-9, 4 with 35 points. The Comets enter the playoffs with momentum of a two game winning streak. Despite ending on a winning note the Comets finished just one point behind Utica in fifth place in the MASL’s Eastern Division. The result is a play-in game played at Utica City FC.
Comets head Coach Leo Gibson on his team as they enter post-season play, “Guys are looking good, a really good time.” Having not played Utica all season coach Gibson admits that, “It’s both good and bad.” Gibson adds, “It’s good we haven’t played each other. It’s challenging and dwell on what we can control.”
With a win the Comets will advance to the semifinal round and play top seeded Milwaukee, the Eastern Division champions. The schedule for the series has already been set by the MASL. Game one is on Thursday, Apr. 13 in Milwaukee with a 6:05 p.m. central time start. Game two is set for Monday night, Apr. 17 at Cable Dahmer Arena with game time at 7:05 p.m. A mini-game if needed will immediately follow the game to decide the series winner.
The Comets didn’t meet Utica City FC during the regular season so post-season preparation has included getting to know the opponent for the fans too. Utica finished the regular season at 13-10-1 with 36 points. Utica clinched fourth place on their home field in a comeback 4-3 win over Baltimore Blast. Utica had their largest crowd of 3,417 in Utica FC history that night. A familiar face leads the team in head coach Hewerton Moreira. Leading the way on the field for Utica is veteran forward Gordy Gurson.
For Comets coach Leo Gibson the familiarity is a good thing, “Those two have been around the league a very long time, several guys are familiar.” Gibson feels the teams are “similar in players and style of play, same energy” then adds Utica “even have blue turf.” Gibson says he “is excited for it.”
This Eastern Conference play in game is set for Monday, Mar. 10 with a 5:05 p.m. central time start. The game will be played at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. Utica uses a hashtag of #forthecity. Utica has been promoting “white out for the playoffs” for fans throughout the upcoming playoffs however far Utica advances.
The Comets last played in front of their fans on Sunday, Mar. 26 and came away with a win. With a win in New York the Comets would guarantee at least one more home game this season inside Cable Dahmer Arena. The Comets who finished the 2022-23 regular season leading the MASL in attendance are eager to play again in Kansas City as their pursuit of a Ron Newman Cup continues.