Forward Adauto Neto scored nine straight points tonight (Photo courtesy of Philadelphia KiXX)
Philadelphia Defeats Rockford Rampage in Home Opener
Philadelphia (Saturday, January 9, 2010) – Philadelphia KiXX fans waited a long time for their team to return to the City of Brotherly Love, and they were treated to one of the most entertaining games of indoor soccer that can be played. The KiXX (2-5) eventually persevered in a hard-fought contest to pull out a 23-20 victory over the Rockford Rampage (3-3) in their first-ever home match at Liacouras Center, with three separate hat tricks coming from Anthony Maher, Adauto Neto (four goals) and Pat Morris.
Rockford struck first in this match-up, 2-0, with midfielder Semir Mesanovic making the most of a restart opportunity at 1:41 of the opening frame. A mere nine seconds later, Maher scored a Neto feed, but the Rampage retaliated at 3:15 on an unassisted knock by defender Chris Brisson to make it 4-2. Maher then equalized the count, 4-4, when he tallied a solo strike at 4:53, but Rockford regained the lead at 9:42 on a Bato Radoncic to Mesanovic notch.
After the Mesanovic go-ahead score, the game was again evened up at 13:08, and once again it was off the foot of Maher, with Morris registering the assist. The goal made it a first quarter hat trick for the Cape May, New Jersey, native, and it was his second hat trick in two consecutive games (five goals in two quarters). Riding off that momentum, the KiXX then acquired their first lead of the night, 8-6, when midfielder Sandre Naumoski scored an unassisted power play tally with three seconds left in the period.
At 1:58 of the second quarter, the Rampage equalized on a two-point goal by midfielder Geison Moura, and their next shot at points came on a shootout opportunity by forward John DeVae. After putting the ball into motion, his ensuing shot sailed off the wall, and the count remained even at eight each. That tally would stand until 49 seconds were left in the opening half when Morris pounded home a Ricardinho pass to send Philadelphia into intermission with a 10-8 advantage.
Rockford opened up the third frame with a couple of quick scores to gain a 12-10 edge, but Morris answered with his second goal of the night at 12:30 to level it at 12 apiece. After another four-point run by the Rampage, Neto took a Naumoski feed and weaved his way through traffic before slipping a shot past Rockford goalkeeper Danny Waltman at 8:16. The playmaking Brazilian made another deceptive run the following minute to put a hard-struck triple into the back of the net at 7:40, and the KiXX took a 19-16 lead at 10:06 after he completed a third quarter hat trick off a throw from Sanaldo.
Neto continued his amazing run in the fourth stanza, scoring a fourth straight goal (nine unanswered points) off a feed from Ricardinho. The tally, which was the third on four Philadelphia power play opportunities on the night, gave the KiXX a five-point advantage, 21-16. Things got much closer during the final minutes, 21-18, after Rockford midfielder Matthew Stewart finished an Ibrahim Kante feed for a two-pointer and Waltman was pulled in favor of Fabinho as the sixth attacker. With 18 seconds left in the game, Morris put his own piece of history into the already historical night, knocking in the 175th goal of his career and giving him a hat trick on the night. Rampage midfielder Jamar Beasley would make the count a bit closer with a notch four ticks later, but the KiXX held on to win the thrilling home opener, 23-20.
Tonight was the first game in a home-and-home weekend series between these two clubs, with Philadelphia heading to Rockford on Sunday to play the Rampage at 6:05 p.m. That game can be viewed live online via B2 Networks.
The next home match at the Liacouras Center is on Saturday, January 23rd, when the KiXX will host Rockford. Tickets for that contest are available now by calling 1-888-888-KiXX or logging onto www.ComcastTix.com.