PARK CITY — Before their inaugural MISL soccer season started, the Wings had a natural rival in Missouri, a Central division opponent that the Wings play six times during their 24-game schedule.
After one game, the Wings can zero-in on an enemy from the Comets.
Geison scored five goals for Missouri, including the game-winner in sudden-death overtime, giving the Comets, coached by original Wing Kim Roentved, a 16-14 win at Hartman Arena on Thursday night.
The Comets were politely applauded as they took the field by the sellout crowd of 4,692 and booed as they left it. The result of the game had a lot to do with that display of displeasure, but so did the antics of Geison, who riled up the crowd after his goals.
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"Everybody's got to have that one player that they key in on, that player that they love to hate," Wings coach LeBaron Hollimon said. "That's what the game needs."
The game was tied at every two-point interval (goals inside the arch count for two points and there were no three-point goals Thursday) and the teams headed to the extra period at 14-14. Neither team could protect a lead, but it seemed the lateness of the Wings' goal that put them ahead 14-12 would keep them from having to endure the game's seventh tie.
After Wichita's Chris Lemons scored with 2:07, Missouri employed a sixth attacker. The Wings' defense was impressive in a penalty-killing effort in the second quarter, but they couldn't match that success late in the game. Neto, Missouri 's other one-named Brazilian, scored within 15 seconds to tie it.
The Wings appeared most locked in when playing from behind, and Hollimon was disappointed with their intensity when Missouri was chasing.
"We've got to do a better job after scoring goals to definitely not give up anything," Hollimon said. "We need to be a little bit more focused after goals."
Hollimon said goalkeeper Sanaldo Carvalho was included in that criticism. Carvalho saved the Wings several times with diving saves and quick reactions on point-blank shots, but he wasn't without mistakes. An errant pass led to Geison's second goal, which made it 4-4 in the second quarter.
Geison frustrated Wichita defenders consistently and did the same to Wichita's fans. After his second goal, he held both hands to his ears, embracing jeers. He pointed and smiled at Wings fans after a later goal.
"It wasn't anything malicious, nothing dirty," Hollimon said. "It's just good, old-fashioned competition."
Geison played the angles well and seemed to always be in position to create for himself or a teammate. Missouri had the ball on a restart near the Wings' goal in overtime, and after it ricocheted off the wall several times, Geison ended up with it, scoring from near the foul line.
"You're going to put yourself in the best position you can both defensively and offensively, and I think tonight he just got some lucky bounds off the boards," Wings defender Larry Inlow said. "He was just in the right place at the right time."
Inlow scored the Wings' first goal, tying it 2-2. Wichita led 4-2 and 6-4 in the first half but the score was tied at the end of every quarter.
The Wings' best chance to create separation seemed to occur in the third, when they took a 10-8 lead after consecutive goals. But Missouri had an answer.
"I wanted that two-goal cushion but I never saw it coming," Hollimon said. "We struggled defending tonight."
Every aspect but the end of the game made Thursday a cause for celebration. The Wings sold out their first game, played competitively and possibly created stars in Chile Farias and Jamar Beasley, who combined for three goals and three assists.
"That's OK, but we really wanted to pull out the win," Beasley said.
Note — Roentved, who played for the original Wings from 1980-87, was introduced over the public address during the third quarter and received a standing ovation. "It was fantastic," Roentved said. "I couldn't be more excited for Wichita and the fans out here. I hope everybody that was out here today comes back."
Missouri2 4 4 4 2 — 16 Wichita 2 4 4 4 0 — 14
Scoring—1. Missouri, Geison (unassisted), 6:45; 2. Wichita, Inlow (Farias), 9:34. Penalties— None.
Scoring—3. Wichita, Beasley (Moojen), 0:56; 4. Missouri , Geison (unassisted), 7:46; 5. Wichita, Beasley PP (Jobe), 11:47; 6. Missouri , Assadpour (unassisted), 12:45. Penalties— Wichita, Farias (tripping), 4:57; Missouri, Harris (tripping), 10:19.
Scoring—7. Missouri, Geison (unassisted), 1:20; 8. Wichita, Jobe (unassisted), 2:18; 9. Beasley PP (Farias), 8:04; 10. Missouri, Geison PP (unassisted), 10:21. Penalties— Missouri, Gibson (jumping in), 2:47; Missouri, Alvarez (tripping), 4:07; Missouri, Harris (pushing), 7:24; Wichita, Jobe (boarding), 8:28.
Scoring—11. Wichita, Perez (Farias), 4:19; 12. Missouri, Harris (unassisted), 8:11; 13. Wichita, Lemons (Ayegbusi); 12:53; 14. Missouri, Neto (Alvarez), 13:08. Penalties— None.
Scoring—15. Geison (Assadpour), 4:29. Penalties— None.
Shots—Missouri 27, Wichita 42. Saves— Missouri , Waltman, 12; Assadpour 0. Wichita, Carvalho 21. T— 2:25. A— 4,692.