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Austin Aztex Bring an Improved Squad to AB Soccer Park

Aztex vs. Montreal

AC St. Louis hosts the Austin Aztex at 7:00 pm Saturday April 17th in the club’s historic home opener.  The Aztex are coming off a stunning 2-0 home victory over the defending USL-1 champion Montreal Impact.

The Austin Aztex were founded in 2008 by Englishman Phil Rawlins, who is also on the board of English Premier League club Stoke City..  The Texas club and Stoke City have a formal relationship, sharing uniform colors and training information, with the added possibility of the Aztex developing future Stoke City players.  Hopefully Stoke City hasn’t shared any information concerning the dangerous throw-ins of Rory Delap, the Stoke City midfielder who’s lengthy throw-ins into the opponents’ box are like dangerous corner kicks.

In 2008, Rawlins fielded a team in the PDL, the Austin Aztex U-23, from which they signed Mexican goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, the 2008 PDL Goalkeeper of the Year.  Last year was the Aztex first in USL-1 division play, and they suffered the expansion team blues, finishing with a 5-17-8 record for the 2009 season. 

The new USSF D2 season has started differently.  Aztec coach Adrian Heath has added quite a bit of talent to his squad that includes 2009 returnees Gallardo (back from injury),  Englishman Eddie Johnson, who lead the team in points, Brazilian Sullivan Silva, Cuban Yordany Alvarex and American Michael Callahan, all midfielders, and forward Jamie Watson, who scored last week.  The biggest signing was of Texan Jay Needham.  The 2007 USL Rookie of the Year returns to the U.S. after playing two seasons in Norway for Alta IF, which he captained in 2009.  The 6’2″ defender was also named to the NY Times soccer blog’s list of best uncapped Americans playing in Europe.  Also onboard are former Kansas City Wizard Lance Watson, former LA Galaxy defender Leonard Griffin and Real Salt Lake’s Joey Worthen.  Lawrence Olum, the former St. Louis Lion and Missouri Baptist star who scored the Aztex’s opening goal of the 2010 season last week, comes to the team from the Minnesota Thunder, where he was in the top 20 in league scoring last year.  Defender Yohance Marshall joins the club on loan from the Galaxy.   Yesterday the team also signed Colombian veteran midfielder Ronald Caicedo and midfielder Stephan Campbell from Trinidad and Tobago, although I doubt either would be in uniform for Saturday night’s game.

Originally I suspected that the Aztex might be one of the weaker teams this year in USSF D2, being only in their second year.  But based on last week’s big upset of Montreal and all the talent they’ve brought in, our new AC St. Louis club will be in for a stern test Saturday night.  Coach Claude Anelka’s AC St. Louis team does have one factor in its favor though…..HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE.  The 12th man will have the park ROCKIN.  Excitement is in the air.  I look forward to a thrilling game Saturday night.

                AUSTIN AZTEX 2010 ROSTER

  Wes Allen Defender 6′ 1″ 170 lbs
1 Miguel Gallardo-Aparicio Goalkeeper 6′ 1″ 182 lbs
5 Kieron Bernard Defender 6′ 2″ 190 lbs
7 Sullivan Silva Forward 6′ 1″ 185 lbs
18 Joey Worthen Midfielder 6′ 1″ 210 lbs
21 Sean Kelley Goalkeeper 6′ 4″ 200 lbs
8 Eddie Johnson Forward 5′ 11″ 185 lbs
6 Lance Watson Defender 5′ 7″ 160 lbs
10 Yordany Alvarez Midfielder 5′ 10″ 166 lbs
16 Michael Callahan Midfielder 5′ 8″ 150 lbs
19 Yohance Marshall Defender 6′ 1″ 170 lbs
15 Kevin Sakuda Midfielder 6′ 0″ 175 lbs
13 Lawrence Olum Midfielder 6′ 2″ 190 lbs
33 Jay Needham Defender 6′ 2″ 185 lbs
77 Jamie Watson Forward 5′ 9″ 155 lbs
12 Leonard Griffin Defender 6′ 1″ 185 lbs
23 Kendell McFayden Forward 6′ 0″ 175 lbs
11 Maxwell Griffin Forward 6′ 0″ 175 lbs
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