Omaha's quixotic quest for final M2 playoff spot starts great, but falls short after weekend loss

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Omaha Kings quest to nail down the fourth and final playoff spot started well Sunday afternoon in Amarillo, but ended in disappointment as the Bombers rallied from early two-goal deficits to win 9-7.

The Kings would have earned the fourth and final Major Arena Soccer League 2 playoff spot with a win, which would have been their fourth in a row, but instead the final spot will go to the Chicago Mustangs, who have the best remaining record of the non-invitational tournament winners from earlier in the season.

Wichita (Heartland Invitational), Amarillo (Rocky Mountain Invitational) and Cleveland (Great Lakes Invitational) had already earned post-season berths. The playoffs will be a single-elimination affair July 17 and 18 at Hartman Arena in Wichita. 

Omaha had early leads of 2-0 and 3-1 Sunday before the Bombers took off. They broke a 6-6 tie in the fourth quarter on three unanswered goals, one of which came on a shootout, and the last of which came with just 53 seconds to play.

Julio Vargas led the Amarillo attack with three goals and two assists, while Vitor Patri had two goals (including the game winner on a shootout) and an assist.  Anthony Powell also had a three-point afternoon with a goal and two assits.

Jose Chavez got the win in goal, facing 31 shots, and coming up with a number of big stops in a tense, back-and-forth 4th quarter. 

James Thayer had a goal and two assists to lead Omaha, who was originally scheduled to play at the M3 level this spring, but was granted provisional status to move up to M2 for the 2021 season. Adding a goal and an assist each were Eduardo Suarez, Leonides Mejia and  Sebastian Contreras.

Omaha finishes the season at 6-8, despite an impressive second half of the season with some big home wins, the team struggled on the road. With the win over Omaha the Bombers improved to 5-4, and will be home for a pair of games July 9 and 11 against Colorado and Wichita to wrap up its regular season. Colorado will be at home for a weekend doubleheader this coming Saturday and Sunday against the Wings. Those four games will close out the M2 regular season, and determine the final playoff seedings.