Taylor Bond's goal against six Milwaukee Wave attackers with 14 seconds left snapped a tie and capped a second-half comeback as the Chicago Mustangs rallied for a 5-4 victory in a Major Arena Soccer League regular-season finale watched by 6,610 fans Sunday afternoon at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
In some ways, the game had little impact for the Wave (13-7), who already had clinched the No. 2 spot in the Central Division playoffs. Milwaukee will play the top-seeded Kansas City Comets (15-5) in Game 1 on Thursday night in Independence, Mo., then will play host to Game 2 and a Game 3 mini-game, if necessary, on Sunday. Normally, the higher-seeded team chooses to play Games 2 and 3 at home.
The Wave held a 4-2 lead over the Mustangs (11-9) midway through the third quarter after Ian Bennett scored his second goal of the day, but Bond pulled one back less than 30 seconds later and Efrain Martinez converted on a power play just more than a minute after that to level the score, setting the stage for the late heroics.
Bennett finished the regular season with 53 goals, tied for the seventh-best goal total in a season in the Wave's 33-year history – George Pastor had the same number of goals in the 1990-91 season, but did so in 40 games compared to Bennett's 20.
He ended up second in the league in goals, four behind Sonora's Franck Tayou. Milwaukee midfielder Max Ferdinand, who didn't play Sunday, led the league with 30 assists, while Wave goalkeeper Josh Lemos finished the season fourth in the MASL with a 4.83 goals-against average.
Milwaukee won two of three matches against the Comets this season, both at UWM Panther Arena – 6-5 on Nov. 19 and 7-5 on Feb. 18 – while Kansas City took the lone meeting in Kansas, winning 11-4 back on Nov. 4.