On Sunday, for the second time in two days, the Mississauga MetroStars were in action on the road, this time in Independence, Missouri, to take on the Kansas City Comets.
Less than 24 hours after a disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Wave, the MetroStars made the 925 km journey south for an afternoon kickoff against the Comets side that beat them 12-6 in their second-ever home match.
Without veteran leaders Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Cann, who didn't make the trip south of the border, Marco Rodriguez and Mo Babouli were named as the two captains for this game.
The Comets got the scoring underway 3:16 into the game with a brilliant passing play, finished off by Lucas Rodriguez. Rodriguez found Bryan Perez at the post and ran between the defenders, receiving the ball again in front of goal and sliding it into the empty goal.
The lead wouldn’t last long, as Darren Chambers equalized less than a minute later. Chambers picked up the ball in the neutral zone, drove in from the right and placed the ball into the bottom right corner for his first goal of the season.
At 8:03, Leo Gibson, who tallied three goals and three assists the last time these teams played each other, scored his first of the match with an emphatic effort from the edge of the penalty area. He timed his run up perfectly, before rifling a shot into the top of the goal.
Joshua Paredes added a goal for the MetroStars at 9:23, and the first quarter ended with the two sides tied up with two goals apiece.
It didn’t take long for the Comets to take the lead again, as Lucas Rodriguez scored his second of the match just 38 seconds into the quarter.
Damion Graham tied it up again for Mississauga with a stunning strike at 4:28, volleying the ball across the goal, off the left post and in, but once again, the MetroStars conceded quickly after scoring. Just 16 seconds after the game kicked off again, Anthony Grant volleyed home a goal of his own following a perfect cross from Leo Gibson.
At 8:31, Jarred Philips scored after a mistake by the Comets goalkeeper that Loris Karius would be proud of. Philips shot the ball from distance and after what appeared to have been a routine catch for the ‘keeper, he let it slip through his fingers and into the net behind him.
After a back-and-forth start to the game that saw the Comets take the lead 4 times, the MetroStars finally took their first lead of the game at the end of the first half. At 13:55, Marco Rodriguez took a pass on the edge of the box and took a shot on goal with his first touch. The Comets keeper made another mistake, getting to the ball in time, but failing to push it out of harms way, and it slipped by him and into the goal.
Mississauga took a 5-4 lead into halftime.
Just over four minutes into the third, Ramone Palmer, celebrating his 30th birthday, scored the tying goal to make it 5-5. Adrian Becic, the goalkeeper in net for the MetroStars, was also celebrating his 30th birthday on Sunday.
About a minute after Palmer’s goal, Massimo Mirabelli scored his first goal of the season, restoring the lead for Mississauga. Darren Chambers played the ball across the front of the goal, giving Mirabelli a clear shot on goal, and the forward made no mistake, firing the ball under the goalkeeper.
Jarred Philips doubled Mississauga’s lead at the 12:53 mark, intercepting a pass, squeezing past a defender and taking advantage of a breakaway, giving the MetroStars a 7-5 advantage.
The MetroStars have struggled all season with closing out quarters, something that happened again in the third period of Sunday’s match. Bryan Perez brought the home side back within one goal with just 12 seconds left in the quarter, making the score 7-6 after 45 minutes. The MetroStars still had the lead, but a two-goal lead versus a one-goal lead can be a huge advantage in such a fast-paced sport.
The MetroStars learnt that lesson pretty quickly, as just 46 seconds into the fourth quarter, they were already picking the ball out of their own net, courtesy of Bryan Perez again.
Six minutes into the quarter, Mo Babouli scored the best goal the MetroStars have scored this season, splitting two defenders before sprinting the length of the pitch and firing a shot into the roof of the goal. It gave Mississauga an 8-7 lead, but the Comets responded quickly again.
Adam James found the back of the net at the 7:43 mark, tying the game at 8-8. Leo Gibson gave Kansas City the lead at 10:26 with his second goal of the game, forcing the MetroStars to bring out Marco Rodriguez as the sixth attacker.
Kiel Williams added a goal into the empty net, securing the 10-8 victory.
With this defeat, the MetroStars have now lost six games in a row. They now have a 2-9 record and remain at the bottom of their division. On the road, they sit at 0-5.
With a goal and an assist, Mo Babouli now stands alone atop the team’s scoring list, with 18 points in 11 matches. He is also the only player to have played all 11 games so far. Damion Graham who had one point on Sunday, now has 17 points in 9 games, giving him the highest points per game average on the team.
Defender Josip Keran tallied four blocked shots against the Comets, moving him up into 4th place on the league’s leaderboard.
Despite only playing in four matches, Jonathan Osorio leads the league in penalty minutes after picking up 10 on Saturday and 7 on Sunday, all of his 17 penalty minutes this season. He is just ahead of his teammate Marco Rodriguez, who sits in second place with 14 after picking up 10 on Sunday.
The MetroStars close out their four game road trip on Sunday, February 10th at 2 o’clock when they take on Utica City FC at the Adirondack Bank Center. After that game, they return home on February 15th to play the Baltimore Blast.