It’s been a slow process but it appears the Philadelphia KiXX finally have the rest of Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) right where they want them.
Sparked by the return of long time coach and player Don D’Ambra, Philadelphia (4-6) moved into a three-way tie for third place in the league standings after holding on for a tight 8-7 victory last night over the host Rockford Rampage.
D'Ambra, the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia, returned to the KiXX as its all-time leader in points (884), goals (380), power play goals (42), game-winning goals (46), games played (436), and shots (1,560).
"My decision to play was influenced by two reasons," D'Ambra explained. "The first is that I feel good physically. At my age, a 5-6 month season is very long, and the physical abuse to my body would have been too much. There are two months remaining, and I feel that my body will be able to handle it."
The other reason D'Ambra decided to return to the turf was based upon the veteran leadership and competitiveness that still burns strong within him.
In his first game action of the season, D'Ambra scored a deuce at 13:18 when he snuck an Adauto Neto feed past Rockford net minder Ante Cop. KiXX goal keeper Sanaldo closed out the half by dishing a ball to the feet of Philadelphia points-leader Neto in the final seconds of the half, as the Brazilian playmaker made the feed count with just 0.8 seconds remaining to give the KiXX a 6-0 advantage at intermission.
The goal was the 100th career regular season goal for the 2005-06 MISL MVP, and the first half shutout was the third time that Sanaldo has blanked the Rampage at its home in the first half this year.
With the Mix leading 6-2 in the second half, defender Pat Morris took a D’Ambra feed at the top of the arc to make it an 8-2 advantage at the 1:18 mark.
The KiXX are back in action Saturday, Feb 20, when they host La Raza de Monterrey (9-5) in a 7:05 p.m. touch at the Liacouras Center.