KC Comets snap eight-game losing streak: ‘We needed this one more than they did’

The Kansas City Comets snapped their eight-game losing streak at the end of a back-to-back on Saturday at Cable Dahmer Arena. They beat the Empire Strykers 7-2 the day after losing a heartbreaker to the Tacoma Stars 6-5 in a shootout.

After conceding a goal 26 seconds into Saturday’s contest, the Comets scored four straight the rest of the first half before Empire finally added another in the fourth quarter.

The Comets showed resilience and remained composed to close the game out with three more scores to earn their first win in over a month.

“We needed this one more than they did,” said Comets defender Robert Palmer, who spent the previous three seasons with Empire before returning to the Comets this season. Palmer became the first player in MASL history to reach 300 career blocks this weekend and now sits with 308 throughout his decade in the league.

Palmer leads the league with 55 blocks and was part of an outstanding defensive trio alongside Chad Vandegriffe and Nacho Flores, who combined for 21 blocks on Saturday. Nicolau Neto stopped nearly everything else as he picked up his eighth win of the season with 15 saves.

Saturday’s win ended the Comets’ losing skid that included six straight road games, the most in franchise history. It was a grueling stretch that the team now hopes to move past.

“I never missed this arena more than I did this year,” said Comets head coach Stefan Stokic. “I’ve been here for so long and this away trip was too long. I couldn’t wait to come back.”

Even with the disappointing results preceding Saturday’s win, the fans still showed up in droves with crowds greater than 4,500 on back-to-back nights.

Stokic continued, “I know there are no better fans in the league than our fans. How much they support us through the thick and thin is unbelievable. I have no words.”

Defeating an icon from Mexico

The Comets’ victory on Saturday came against a modern Mexican soccer icon in Marco Fabián. The 34-year-old played at two World Cups with the Mexico National Team and won a Gold Medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

He has played globally, most notably with Chivas Guadalajara for the majority of his career before playing three years with German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

Fabián signed with Empire in December and is among the biggest signings in MASL history alongside Landon Donovan and Jermaine Jones.

Fabián previously lost to Sporting KC 1-0 with Cruz Azul in 2014 and lost again in 2019, as he had a penalty kick saved and got a red card with the Philadelphia Union while falling 2-0. Following Saturday’s outcome, Fabián has lost on all three trips to Kansas City.

“Honored to share the same field as him,” Neto said. “The guy is sneaky; he’s always going to put one in the net. That’s what he’s made his career off of.”

Fabián did precisely that. His fourth-quarter goal extended his scoring streak to 12 straight games, the longest active scoring streak in the MASL. Neto and the KC defense did well to keep him to just a goal considering he fired 17 shots and scored multiple goals in his previous four games.

“The fans here I know come to every game,” Fabián said. “You guys are proud because you get a lot of people to come to watch the games and to enjoy.”

Teams come together for pregame moment

While the Comets and Strykers were feeling the stress of preparing for a game on Saturday — with both teams desperate to win — the two teams united together in a unique pregame moment.

Members of the Comets team were starting their regular pregame prayer led by team chaplain Pastor Steve. They noticed Empire entering the arena and extended an invitation to their soon-to-be foes, who accepted and joined in.

“That’s what it’s all about, something beyond the game,” Neto said. “It was a wholesome moment where we were able to glorify God and share the same atmosphere even though we are rivals before an important game.”

The Comets will look to keep building as they host the defending Ron Newman Cup champion Chihuahua Savage on Friday, February 16. Tickets are available at kccomets.com/tickets.