Don't look now M2, but here come the Omaha Kings!
TAMPA, Fla. – The Omaha Kings continue to be the little engine that could in the 2021 Major Arena Soccer League 2 season.
The Kings, who were granted provisional M2 status shortly before the season began – moving up from Major Arena Soccer League 3 where they were planning to play in 2021 – won their third straight game Sunday, defeating the visiting Cleveland Crunch 5-3.
The win keeps the Kings very much alive for the fourth and final M2 playoff spot in next month’s “Championship Weekend” in Wichita. Omaha improved to 6-7, just percentage points behind the Chicago Mustangs who have finished their regular season at 5-5. Teams needed a minimum of 10 regular season games to be considered for the playoffs as not all M2 teams were able to play the same number of games this season due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Should Omaha (6-7) win its final regular season game June 20 at Amarillo, the Kings would make the post-season as they and the Mustangs would both finish with a .500 record. But the Kings hold the head-to-head advantage this spring, winning two of the three games played between the pair.
Wichita, Cleveland and Amarillo have already qualified for the post-season by winning the Heartland Invitational, Great Lakes Invitational and Rocky Mountain Invitational series of games held earlier this spring. The final playoff spot for M2 this year goes to the non-invitational winners with the highest winning percentage.
Tied at three all, Omaha’s Morgan Penn got the game winner with just over four minutes to play in the third period. Bobby Jaffery added an insurance marker with just under five minutes left in the game.
Cleveland led only one at 1-0 following the first of two Ryan Minick goals coming with just over five minutes to play in the first.
Christian Sanchez and Sebastian Contrearas scored two and one-half minutes apart midway through the second for Omaha’s first lead before Minick sent the teams to intermission tied at 2 each.
Leonides Mejia put the Kings back on top at the 4:52 mark of the third before the Crunch got their final goal, tying things back up at 3-3, from Chris Cvecko with 5”22 to play in the third. Penn’s game winner came just 56 seconds after the Crunch tied it up.
Cleveland, returning to the pro indoor soccer scene after a two-decade absence, finishes the regular season at 7-3. The loss also dropped the Crunch into second place with a .700 winning percentage. Wichita, at 6-1, has an .833 winning mark, and has five games remaining in its regular season.