FEATURE COMETS FACE MILWAUKEE IN CENTRAL DIVISION FINALS Mar 08, 2012
Familiar Foes Meet in Playoffs for Second Straight Season
INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI – Preparations for the 2011-12 Major Indoor Soccer League season began months ago with an eventual title always the goal, but the quest for a ring truly starts Friday night for the Comets with the first game of the Central Division Finals at the Independence Events Center. The opponent in this semi-final series is none other than last year’s MISL champion Milwaukee Wave. The winner will advance to play either Baltimore or Rochester in the MISL Championship Series.
This year’s MISL Central Division Finals will begin in Independence with a 7:35pm central time game at the IEC Friday, March 9. The series moves to Milwaukee for Game 2 Sunday at 3:00pm. If each team wins one game, a mini-game will immediately follow Game 2 to determine the representative in the MISL Championship Series.
The Comets look to continue the surge of momentum that saw them claim six victories in their last seven regular season contests. The team posted a 4-1 mark in February as Danny Waltman was named MISL Goalkeeper of the Month.
The only thing separating the Comets from a seven-game winning streak is a one-point loss to Milwaukee in the penultimate game of the regular season. However, the Comets beat the Wave twice down the stretch, a three-point win in Milwaukee and a 21-6 rout in Independence to head into the playoffs. Milwaukee won the first three meetings of the year by narrow margins and took the regular season series four games to two.
The Wave, in search of the franchise’s sixth championship, are looking to recapture their early season form. After starting the year 16-2, Milwaukee dropped four of six in the final weeks of the season. Defense is an obvious culprit as the Wave went from allowing 9.4 points per game in the first 18 contests of the year to 15.8 points per game in the final six, including a season-high 21 to the Comets in the finale.
The Comets were led offensively this season by midfielder Geison, the MISL’s regular-season Scoring Champion and Goal Scoring Champion. His 90 points and 37 goals were tops in the league by significant margins. He scored at least one point in all but one game this season and finished the year strong with six points in each of the final two games against Milwaukee. Forward Byron Alvarez surged to a third-place finish in the scoring race with a monstrous game to close the regular season, netting six goals and 13 total points. He finished with 78 points on the year.
Milwaukee, the top scoring team in the MISL, excels offensively with tremendous balance. 10 Wave players scored at least 30 points on the year, led by 61 from forward Greg Howes.
The biggest area of concern for the Comets heading into the postseason would have to be injuries. The team was without three regulars last time out as forward Tiguinho, midfielder Vahid Assadpour and defender Ryan Junge were all unavailable due to injury. Tiguinho has since been diagnosed with a torn ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. Assadpour (neck) and Junge (ankle) have both improved but are still questionable for the series against Milwaukee. For the Wave, Howes and defender Joe Hammes each missed games at the close of the regular season but both are expected to be available for the playoff series.
The Comets and Wave also met to open last year’s MISL playoffs. The Comets won Game 1 11-5 in Independence. Milwaukee was in control of Game 2 before the Comets rallied for 11 straight points to take a late lead but Howes hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the final minutes to claim a 20-18 Wave victory and force the mini-game. The Wave won the mini-game 5-2, advancing to play Baltimore and eventually win the MISL championship.
Attendance in the MISL topped 336,000 during the regular season and good crowds are expected for both Central Division Finals games. Comets fans have the opportunity to get a free playoff ticket with the purchase of a 2012-13 season
Get tickets here: www.ticketmaster.com/event/060047334527F0F6