Saint Louis F.C. Slide Continues In Draw vs. Charleston
St. Louis, MO- Part of Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” For Saint Louis Football Club, they are still searching for something to stop their poor run of form.
In front of a crowd of 4,085 people, STLFC were held to a draw for the second time in five days, battling to a stalemate with the Charleston Battery by a score of 1-1.
STLFC showed signs of improvement from their match on Tuesday vs. Memphis 901 F.C., but they were unable once again to break down a side that finished the match with 10 men in order to claim a victory.
“I thought, barring a five to ten-minute spell in the first half, that we were in complete control of the game,” said head coach Anthony Pulis. “We wanted to win tonight, but when you’re 1-0 down against a team that is historically good at defending leads, to get a point isn’t the end of the world.”
STLFC set the tone offensively in the 5th minute when Russell Cicerone maneuvered his way inside the box, but he was met by multiple defenders before he could pull the trigger.
Charleston’s first chance came in the 19th minute when Zeiko Lewis took a shot from the right side of the box that missed the top left corner by only a foot or two.
In the 22nd minute, Cicerone was able to get into the box once again, this time squaring up Nikiphoros “Nichi” Vlastos for a shot at the top of the box. Vlastos, an STLFC academy player making his first league start, would pull his shot wide left by only a couple of inches.
STLFC’s best chance of the half came in the 26th minute when Matt Bahner received a pass from Cicerone at the top of the right side of the box, where he would let loose a thunderous effort that would clang off the crossbar and out of play.
Charleston began to ramp up the pressure in the 36th minute when Lewis’ cross was chested up into the air by Ian Svantesson in the box. His bicycle kick attempt was headed for the top of the net, but it was tipped over by goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. Unfortunately for STLFC, the ensuing corner would lead to the goal in the 37th minute.
The corner was taken short to Lewis, who was able to enter the right side of the box uncontested and put in a cross. After the ball bounced around between players for a few seconds, it was eventually put into the net by Charleston’s Jarad van Schaik. The visitors were able to take that 1-0 lead into halftime.
STLFC would earn two free kicks from close range in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but both of Lewis Hilton’s efforts were comfortably saved by goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky. However, the team was rewarded for their fine play a few minutes later.
In the 67th minute, Cicerone forced his way into Charleston’s box yet again, only this time he was tripped up along the way by Tah Brian Anunga. Captain Sam Fink would step up the following minute to convert the penalty for his fifth goal in league play and tie up the match at 1 all.
Chaos ensued in the 80th minute when Hilton attempted to retrieve the ball for a throw-in from Charleston’s Leland Archer, but Archer put his hand on Hilton’s face and pushed him away. The referee gave Archer his marching orders with a straight red card, while also awarding yellow cards to van Schaik and O’Brian Woodbine for dissent.
STLFC’s best chance to win the game came in stoppage time as everyone on the team, including the goalkeeper, came up for a corner kick, but Phanuel Kavita was put off by a couple of Charleston defenders and sent his header over the bar.
“We knew that they had some big bodies in the back, and we didn’t want to play into their strengths,” said STLFC winger Kadeem Dacres. “We got the ball in some dangerous areas, but we just couldn’t capitalize off our chances.”
Charleston maintain their spot in 9th place thanks to the draw, whereas due to results elsewhere, STLFC find themselves outside of the top 10 for the first time this season and therefore not in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
“This is a results-based business, and right now, we’re not performing at our highest level,” said Fink. “I fully believe in that locker room, in that once we do start to perform at that level, we’re going to climb up that table pretty quick.”
STLFC go back out on the road for a two-game stretch, with the first match taking place on August 18th against Indy Eleven, who STLFC defeated 2-1 at home in the opening match of the season.