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Missing ID Dooms AC….AC St. Louis Drops Season Opener, 2-0

A case of missing identity doomed AC St. Louis as Carolina Railhawks newcomer Etienne Barbara scored twice in the first thirty minutes to lead Carolina to a 2-0 victory.  AC St. Louis played a man down for the first thirty plus minutes as midfielder Manuel Kante, a member of ACSTL’s starting lineup, could not produce an ID and had to return to the team hotel to retrieve it.  Coach Claude Anelka decided to play a man down rather than replace Kante with a substitute.

Etienne Barbara was too much for 10 man ACSTL to handle.   The Maltese striker, signed recently by the Railhawks, was an offensive force and easily took advantage of being a man up against ACSTL’s defense.   Kante returned and went onto the field, and played very well, but the damage was done and ACSTL could not get on the scoreboard despite several chances.

Carolina controlled the early part of the game, but to their credit, ACSTL battled back and the game was pretty even once ACSTL was at full strength. Defender John Lesko somehow missed goal on a headed shot that looked sure to go in.  Kante shot high on a volley that looked dangerous.  The offense looked much more cohesive as the game wore on and was dominating towards the end of the second half, when Elvir Kafedzic, Jack Traynor and Jeff Cosgriff got off shots on goal.  The defense improved as the game wore on also, although Barbara missed a hat trick when he was ruled offside on a third goal.

ACSTL should have at least gotten a point from this game.   I guess we can chalk it up to a first game snafu, but to his credit, Kante played very well when he returned.  Jack Traynor also stood out, delivering some nice free kicks and showing good vision down the left side.  John Lesko, Zach Bauer and Mark Bloom made some very good defensive plays, and Elvir Kafedzic did well defensively playing out a Carolina free kick that sailed over the middle of the field.  As has been the case in each of the previous two ACSTL games I’ve witnessed, the team improved greatly as the game wore on. 

I’m disappointed that ACSTL couldn’t have grabbed a point, but overall it was a good effort on the road against a team that had a 16-7-7 season last year and finished second in USL-1.  I’m looking forward to the home opener next Saturday against Austin.

ACSTL Starting Lineup:  Dufty (GK), Bloom, Velten, Bauer, Lesko (D), Traynor, Cole, Moore, Kante (MF), Cosgriff, Kafedzic (sub Nzinga) (F).

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