Saint Louis F.C. Beat FC Cincinnati Behind Fink’s Late Game Winner
Photo credit: Colter Peterson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, MO- The last time St. Louisans were heard chanting, “We want the Cup!”, the Blues were on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. Last night at World Wide Technology Soccer Park, that chant came through loud and clear from fans hoping to see another local team pull off a similar feat.
In front of a crowd of 4,033 people, Saint Louis F.C. were victorious vs. MLS competition for the second straight game, defeating FC Cincinnati 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
STLFC fans had to wait till the 93rd minute for the payoff when captain Sam Fink rose to head home a corner for the game’s only goal.
“I couldn’t be more pleased for the group of guys we work with,” said STLFC head coach Anthony Pulis. “They’re a fantastic group of people, who put in so much work every day, and seeing them get rewards like this is really special.”
FCC, who were missing several regulars due to international duty at the Gold Cup, started the match well in possession, but soon gave way to an onslaught of chances for the home team.
STLFC’s first chance came in the 7th minute when left back Paris Gee surged forward, eventually finding midfielder Guy Abend at the top of the box, who’s shot sailed just over the crossbar.
A turnover by FCC in the 10th minute led to a ball that deflected off of several people on net but was saved by goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
Tyton was called into action once again in the 16th minute when Gee once again got forward and launched a powerful shot that the keeper deflected off the post and out for a corner. Gee got loose once again in the 25th minute, cutting inside and forcing another near post save from Tyton.
STLFC’s first half of dominance concluded with forward Russell Cicerone sending a cross from the right flank to the top of the box, where midfielder Lewis Hilton let loose a thunderous shot on goal, forcing another spectacular save from Tyton in the 33rd minute.
FCC were able to grow into the game in the 2nd half, forcing goalkeeper Tomas Gomez into making a few saves. Their improvement was almost rewarded by a gift from STLFC in the 82nd minute.
Fink attempted to head a ball back for Gomez to collect, but his diving effort came up short, and was pounced on by forward Fanendo Adi. Adi attempted to take a touch around a diving Gomez, but the keeper got a hand on the ball to palm the danger away.
“I didn’t want to come out, swing and miss, and have him (Adi) walk it in,” said Gomez. “I knew he’d try to take a touch to go around me, I read the play, and got a hand to it to kill the momentum there.”
STLFC ramped up the pressure once again, but the score remained 0-0 after Cicerone had another great shot saved by Tyton in stoppage time.
However, the ensuing corner would produce the match winner. Hilton’s ball found an unmarked Fink at the back post, who headed it in for his 4th goal of the season overall and clinched another historic victory for STLFC.
“I think playing with no fear changes the game for us,” said Fink. “Against Chicago and again tonight (vs. FCC), we went toe-to-toe with them and said, “We’re going to give you our best and see what happens” and that proved to be the right formula.”
The road only gets tougher for STLFC as their quarterfinal match-up takes place on July 10th, when they travel to Atlanta to take on the reigning MLS champions Atlanta United.