by Jim Fossell

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since the original posting to reflect stat changes from the Comets’ game played December 31.

St. Charles, MO

The St. Louis Ambush kick off 2015 by hosting the undefeated cross-state rival Missouri Comets this Saturday, January 3 at 7:35 p.m. at the Family Arena. Saturday’s duel is the first of three between the Ambush and Comets during the 2014-15 regular season.

The Comets are the 2013-14 MISL Champions and are 10-0 this season, with a firm grip on first place in the MASL Central Division. The Ambush (3-5) have won two of their last three games, the most recent being a stunning 8-3 defeat of the San Diego Sockers, who occupy first place in the Pacific Division, last Sunday at the Family Arena. The Comets defeated the Sockers 10-7 the night before the Ambush handed San Diego a defeat, so the Sockers’ road trip through Missouri last weekend was not a kind one.

When they invade the Family Arena on Saturday, expect the Comets to be disciplined, organized and ready for battle. These are among the hallmarks of Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squads. On the pitch, the Comets are led by the dangerous forward Leo Gibson, who presently ranks first in the league in points with 41 (21 goals, 20 assists) and midfielder Vahid Assadpour, who is fifth in the league with 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists). In the net, goalkeeper Danny Waltman is one of the league’s finest. Waltman is sixth in the league in saves (132) and sixth in save percentage (.725) when compared to goalkeepers who have played in eight or more games.

When the Ambush defeated the Sockers last Sunday, eight different players contributed goals. That same kind of team effort on offense could be the key to handing the Comets a defeat on Saturday.

Another factor, if the Ambush are to be successful, will be a solid defense, and the Ambush boast two of the MASL’s best defenders. Defender Chad Vandegriffe currently leads the team in blocks with 20 and he ranks second in the league in that category. Defender Chris Mattingly (right) is right behind Vandegriffe with 15 blocks, ranking him in a tie for third in the league.

The last line of defense for any team is the goalkeeper and Ambush keeper Greg Crook (left) has earned accolades for his work in the nets this season. Crook ranks fifth in the league in saves (141) and in save percentage (.734) when compared to goalkeepers who have played in as many or more games.

Another player to watch is Ambush forward Stefan St. Louis, who leads the team in points with nine. Stefan played for the Comets last season and would love to make a good showing against his former team as a member of the Ambush.

If you can’t make it to Saturday’s game in person, it will be the ESPN3 MASL Game of the Week. High school and college students can take advantage of a special ticket deal for Saturday’s match. Show a valid student ID at the Family Arena box office and buy one lower level ticket and get one free!

For the latest Ambush news, watch the Ambush official website, and the team’s Facebook page, Group and single game tickets are available for all remaining Ambush home games. Call the Ambush office at 636-477-6363 for more information. Single game tickets can be purchased at the Family Arena box office or online at