Saint Louis F.C. Come Back Twice To Draw vs. North Carolina F.C.
St. Louis, MO- Hundreds of boys and girls from the St. Louis Youth Soccer Association descended upon World Wide Technology Soccer Park Saturday night not only to be recognized for their achievements, but to cheer on their local soccer idols. They at least didn’t go home completely empty-handed.
In front of a capacity crowd of 5,963 people, Saint Louis F.C. came back twice to earn a point in a 2-2 draw vs. North Carolina F.C., the first ever meeting between the two clubs.
“I think it could turn out to be a really big point for us,” said STLFC head coach Anthony Pulis. “I think we showed a lot of resilience, a lot of character to come back twice against a really good team.”
The fatigue of playing three games in eight days was evident from the jump, but STLFC managed to create the first good chance of the match in the 12th minute, when Lewis Hilton’s free kick missed the goal by inches and hit the side netting.
The first shot on target wasn’t registered until the 22nd minute when NCFC forward Yamikani Chester forced goalkeeper Tomas Gomez into making a save.
The breakthrough occurred in the 31st minute when midfielder Steven Miller cut in from the left side and delivered a cross to a wide-open Donovan Ewolo, who headed it in to give NCFC a 1-0 lead.
Coach Pulis deemed it necessary to make two halftime substitutions, with Kadeem Dacres and Albert Dikwa coming on for Paris Gee and Caleb Calvert. They instantly made an impact.
In the 47th minute, after a poor clearance from a free kick, midfielder Guy Abend played Dikwa in on goal on the right side and he slotted his shot into the bottom left corner to tie the game at 1-1.
Dikwa almost got his second goal in the 53rd minute when he deflected a cross from midfielder Russell Cicerone on net, causing goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to make a good save.
STLFC continued to match their opponent’s intensity as the game wore on, but fatigue became a factor once again in the 81st minute when NCFC regained the lead.
Left back Caleb Duvernay was given loads of space on the left flank, which allowed him to pick out Miller in the box with a cross. His shot deflected off of STLFC captain Sam Fink and past Gomez for NCFC’s second goal of the match.
It seemed as though STLFC were headed for their third consecutive defeat in league play until they were awarded a penalty late in the game after Dacres was tripped up in the box.
Fink stepped up in stoppage time to convert the penalty and tie the game at 2. It was Fink’s team leading fourth goal in league play and fifth in all competitions.
“It’s good that we were pushing late and that nobody put their heads down,” said Fink. “The goal was nice, but my job is to keep the ball out of the goal, and we let in two.”
STLFC had a few chances to win the game late through Hilton and Dacres, but they were unable to do so before the referee signaled for full-time. The result still leaves STLFC seven points behind NCFC in the Eastern Conference table, but the team can now look forward to a much-needed break.
“Now we can actually almost get back to basics a little bit, go through everything with regards to our style of play, and just keep giving these guys reminders of what’s going to make us successful,” said Pulis.
STLFC will look to take advantage of the full week of preparation before their next match on June 30th, when they travel to Kansas City to take on crosstown rivals Swope Park Rangers.