Missed Chances Plague Saint Louis F.C. in Draw vs. Atlanta United 2
Photo Credit: Will Bramlett, STLFC
St. Louis, MO- As the calendar turns the page to October, it is still anyone’s guess what the weather will be like in St. Louis on a daily basis. One day you are breaking out the hoodie you haven’t worn in months, the next day you are drenched in sweat in 90-degree heat. This same sporadic pattern could accurately describe the current form of Saint Louis F.C.
In front of a crowd of 4,812 people Saturday night, STLFC dropped points in their second consecutive match as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atlanta United 2.
Tyler Blackwood scored his fifth goal in six games, but STLFC’s ultimate downfall was their inability to come up with a second goal from the numerous chances they created during the match.
“You can’t miss the chances we missed tonight and expect to win a game of football,” said STLFC head coach Anthony Pulis. “There were also a lot of little things that we didn’t do well that we had been doing well recently, such as second balls and protecting the middle of the field. A lot of these things can be taken for granted, but they make a big difference, and tonight we saw that.”
The first of many chances for STLFC came in the 13th minute when Matt Bahner would cross the ball towards the center of the box to an open Phanuel Kavita, but the center-back couldn’t keep his header down and it would sail over the bar. Kavita would free himself up at the back post the next minute during a corner, but his shot would go wide right.
The match turned into a stalemate for the next half hour until STLFC would utilize a free kick routine from the training ground to get the ball to Blackwood in the 43rd minute. The forward found some space inside the box, but his snapshot also went wide of the goal.
Atlanta had most of the possession during the match but didn’t actually threaten until stoppage time in the first half, where Luiz Fernando would take a long ball into the left side of the box and it took a strong hand from goalkeeper Tomas Gomez to keep the forward’s shot from finding the roof of the net.
“We knew they might have more possession than us, but we aren’t overly fussed whether we have the ball or not,” said midfielder Lewis Hilton. “We felt like we were doing a good job of keeping them in front of us and they weren’t creating too many chances.”
Both teams traded half chances to start the second half, but in the 59th minute, Russell Cicerone would find himself in on goal. Under pressure from the incoming Atlanta goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira, Cicerone would go for the flick, but it would sail over the bar.
STLFC would break the deadlock in the 67th minute when left-back Bradley Kamdem-Fewo was given space from 30 yards out during a transition. His cross would curl beautifully towards the back-post where it was smashed into the back of the net by the charging Blackwood for the 1-0 lead.
STLFC wouldn’t be celebrating for long as Atlanta came up with the equalizing goal in the 72nd minute. A loose ball at the top of the box wasn’t cleared by the STLFC defense and was instead slammed into the roof of the net by Atlanta’s Amir Bashti, who had come on as a substitute.
STLFC nearly came up with a response in the 78th minute when Cicerone would slip Blackwood in on goal, but the forward’s shot would be stopped by Castanheira.
STLFC’s night of frustration could be summed up by their final chance in the 86th minute. Masta Kacher, who came into the match as a substitute already on a yellow card due to an altercation on the sideline, let loose the most powerful shot of the night on goal. A combination of the fingertips of Castanheira and the crossbar were enough to deflect the shot out of play and prevent the home side from taking the three points.
“Our record when we score first is really good,” said Blackwood. “At home, we need to be getting three points, so this feels like a loss.”
STLFC remain in 9th place after the result and only three points back of the 8th seed Ottawa Fury F.C. with four matches to play. However, they could find themselves level on points with Birmingham Legion F.C. if the club from Alabama come up with a win Monday night.
STLFC’s next match will be the latest rendition of the “King’s Cup” rivalry as the club take on Louisville City F.C. at home on Saturday.