The Chicago Riot had come close in previous contests but they finally got that first franchise win with a 14-13 nail bitter over the Missouri Comets in Independence, Missouri on Sunday. The Riot's Eric Lukin and Bato Radoncic scored two goals a piece to lead the way. The Missouri Comets' Birche scored a dreaded three point goal in the 3rd quarter and it felt like a deja vu moment for when the Riot were playing in Milwaukee and Jonathan Greenfield got a late three-pointer the Riot could not overcome. Chicago was not to be defeated this time around and Eric Lukin scored to put the Riot at the victorious 14 points with 7 minutes left to go in the game.
Full analysis, some great video, and a look at the road ahead facing the Riot after the break...
Bato Radoncic opened the scoring about halfway through the first quarter to give the Riot a 2-0 lead. That didn't last too long before Vahid Assadpour got a great pass from Leo Gibson to even the score 2-2. The game started out in what has become typical Riot fashion of kicking off the scoring and finishing the first quarter tied in a tight battle. The Riot defense lapsed in the 2nd quarter as Tiguinho scored an unassisted goal in less than two minutes in. Chicago fought back with goals by Alex Megson and Chris Brisson to take a 6-4 lead into halftime. It was fairly remarkable too as Radoncic and captain Fred Degand received blue cards a half minute apart and their penalties carried over into the second half. The break might have been the only thing to allow the Riot to get out of a 5 on 3 jam. It is much easier to band together and throw it all in for a minute or so and then come out with the mindset of just keeping it together for another 30 seconds after a 15 minute break.
The defense began to rest on the laurels of shutting down a 5-3 disadvantage and Missouri's Geison Moura and Jamar Beasley managed to score goals without power plays to flip a 6-4 Chicago lead to a 8-6 Chicago deficit all before the clock hit 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter. Chicago's Novi Marojevic scored at the 7:23 mark only to see Birche hit that devastating three-point goal a minute and a half later to make the score 11-8 Comets. Birche's shot added on to Missouri's overall league lead in 3 point goals with 7 while Baltimore is the next closest squad with 4.
Chicago refused to make Birche's goal a knockout shot as Radoncic scored his second goal late in the 3rd quarter to make it 11-10. Eric Lukin then scored even later in the 3rd quarter and halfway through the 4th quarter to make it Riot 14, Missouri 11. The Riot's Semir Measnovic picked up a blue card with 7 minutes left in the game and Missouri's Byron Alvarez punished him by scoring a goal on the power play to make it 14-13 Comets. In watching Major Indoor League Soccer, I can tell you there are few things in sports that match the excitement of a 1 point game with only a few minutes remaining. As the clock winded down, the Riot played a little tighter. Missouri switched out their goalie Danny Waltman for attacker Vahid Assadpour to try and get some extra offense going. Assadpour even had to make save to keep Missouri in winning distance but the game belonged to the Riot in the end. The final score was 14-13 Chicago and the franchise could call itself victors in addition to being the regular winners we know them to be.
As we noted in the preview, the loss puts Missouri on a realistic path to be 1-7 due to Comets matchups against undefeated Baltimore and undefeated Milwaukee next week. Chicago will be prime to knock Missouri out for the count on January 7th when the Riot return to Independence, Missouri. A Riot win would put Chicago at 2-4 and Missouri at 1-8. Chicago could then gather their full sights on Omaha who are just a half game up as I type. This is important because only 3 teams make the playoffs so it is vital to not fall too far behind in a 20 game season. Fans looking for a big MISL matchup should mark their calendars for January 8 and January 9 when the Milwaukee Wave play the Baltimore Blast back to back. Perhaps the Riot staff might figure out a way to get the 3:00 PM Wave vs. Baltimore showing in the upstairs bar at the Odeum while everyone starts to get together for the Riot vs. Vipers game...
Bato Radoncic was named MISL Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in yesterday's game. Check out his stellar play in the YouTube video here:
In the 'too bad almost only counts in horseshoes' category, I was surprised to see this bicycle kick attempt by Anthony Maher... not because we didn't trust that Anthony had the ability but how about just trying it at all? I can't imagine the fall to the ground felt all that great. Great look at the goal though and it was an amazing shot. Just think everyone, Maher is only starting to get back into form after a long off-season