• Special Needs Soccer Association

  • Donate Today

    Help out Haiti

  • News and Notes

  • Our August 2nd Podcast

AC St. Louis Visits Carolina in Season Opener Saturday

AC St. Louis travels to Cary, North Carolina to take on the Carolina Railhawks this Saturday.  The game begins at 6:00 pm and should be available for viewing via online streaming on both teams websites.  The Railhawks are coached by Scotsman Martin Rennie and begin their fourth year of existence.  They finished 2nd in the USL First Division in 2009 with a record of 16-7-7. setting club records for most goals scored, fewest goals allowed, most wins in a season, most shutouts and had a nine game unbeaten streak in Coach Rennie’s first season.  In 2007, the Railhawks reached the U.S. Open Cup semi-finals.

The Railhawks, whose team colors are orange, blue and white, play at WakeMed Soccer Park, which has a seating capacity of 7,130.  The team has updated their stadium to include a Tailgate Zone, featuring live bands, a new Hawkeye Pub on the East Concourse with a beer garden and a Hawkeye Grill on the West Concourse.  Also, the Railhawks have opened a new Fill it With Fun Zone at the park with activities for children.  Coming off a winning season and with all the new stadium updates, I would expect a good crowd supporting the team on Saturday.

On the field, Coach Rennie hopes to build on last season’s success with many veterans returning.  Defender Mark Schulte is team captain, while midfielder Daniel Paladini was team MVP and received 2009 USL First Team honors.  The Railhawks also feature forward Gregory Richardson, who added 5 goals and 3 assists for the Railhawks in 2009 in only ten games.  Regular goalkeeper Eric Reed returns, too, although the Railhawks will be missing midfielders Brian Plotkin and Kupono Low, who are out with injuries.  For the 2010 season, the Railhawks have added goalkeepers Nik Platter (formerly of Minnesota Thunder) and Sean O’Connor, defender Matt Bobo (Charleston Battery), midfielders Floyd Franks and Jun Marques Davidson (J-League), and prolific Maltese striker Etienne Barbara.  The squad is coming off a 2-1 victory over the Battery last Saturday, and drew 1-1 with the Montreal Impact on March 27 in preseason action.

Expectations are high among Railhawks’ fans and this will be a tough test for AC St. Louis.  Railhawks’ coach Martin Rennie is widely respected and the team is coming off an excellent season.   I’m not sure what to expect of AC St. Louis, especially being a brand new team.  I’ve seen two games  — the draw against St. Louis University and last week’s loss to the Kansas City Wizards.  Overall, AC St. Louis has been solid defensively but must improve on defending free kicks in their half of the field, as both SLU and the Wizards scored off of free kicks.  And I’m not sure what AC St. Louis attacking style is, because against SLU they kept the ball on the ground with a short passing game and through balls that opened up the offense and kept possession, whereas AC St. Louis played more long ball ‘kick and chase’ against the Wizards.  Either way, though, Elvir Kafedzic is definetely a threat upfront and so is Brad Stisser, hopefully able to play this Saturday after sitting out the Wizards game with injury.

This should be an exciting match and if Coach Claude Anelka can solve AC St. Louis’ struggles to defend free kicks, we have a chance to pick up points.  Eight of the twelve USSF D2 teams will make the 2010 playoffs in October, so it would be great to get a result in this game, which is the first ever match between teams of the re-born NASL.  Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to the electricity of AC St. Louis’ home opener on Saturday, April 17 against the Austin Aztex.

Elvir Kafedzic

GO  AC St. Louis !!!!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: