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AC lose to Aztex 2-1, Ralston and Anelka post-game reactions.

Well, with another game in the books, in what could be considered an unpredictable season, AC St. Louis dropped their home opener to the undefeated Austin Aztex by a score of 2-1. The Aztex scored, in what could be considered somewhat preventable, goals. The first Aztex goal was scored by Eddie Johnson (no, not that one), on a shot from about 20 yards out that was deflected.

Still, AC came right back a few minutes later and defender Anthony O’Garro knocked in AC’s first ever goal to put the game even.

That is where it would stand until the second half, when the Aztex scored in th 56th minute, as Leonard Griffin scored from even a further distance than the first goal. This goal ended up being the decisive goal which would lead to AC’s defeat.

After the game, we were able to get reactions from both Steve Ralston and Claude Anelka. Click on their makes to get the post-game reactions from both. All that needs to be noted is that both coach and team had a very long, 45 minute or so, closed-door meeting after the game. Oh, and forgive me if I sound rusty. I might have done podcasts for a while now, but this is my first forte into interviewing players and coaches. So, don’t worry, questions will be better with time, I promise!

Even with the loss, there were more opportunities for AC to score. In the first half, midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer put a perfect cross into the box, right onto the head of Manuel Kante, who just happened to hit the ball over the target. Brad Stisser also had a break on goal in the first half, but the Aztex keeper was able to make the save on the break. Still, most of the offensive chances came in the first half.

There seemed to be two problems that AC was having last night. First, the Aztex learned to bypass the midfield play and go straight for the strikers. In their first half, when the play was quite even, there was a lot of midfield play. But in the second half, Austin seemed to change their tactics and attack with the long ball down the right hand side, totally bypassing the midfield. This would explain for the lack of play in both midfields as the ball was more of the AC and Austin zones than the middle third of the field.

The second main problem was the chances that AC were creating on goal, or lack of. Earlier in the game, AC was able to keep the pressure on offensively, keeping the ball in the Austin zone. In the second half of the game, AC seemed to just go into the attacking zone, take one attempt on goal, and then the Aztex were able to get the ball back by taking it to the AC zone with the long ball, usually to the right side. There were a few times in the second half that AC were able to keep the ball in the Aztex end for a prolonged period of time, but it was few and far between.

Still, there were a number of players that showed their skills yesterday. Anthony O’Garro’s goal, and a few nice passed, showed that he does have some nice offensive skill and speed. Luke Kreamalmeyer was able to complete a few nice passes. Brad Stisser also have a few good breaks on goal, but the Austin defense was able to push him wide and reduce his angle of attack.

But the player that seemed to impress most was Manuel Kante. Yes, we might remember him for all the wrong reasons in the first game. But in the second game he impressed both offensively and, to the shock of many, defensively. When he wasn’t trying to head the ball into the net, he was actually dropping back in the defensive zone and doing a number of clears himself. Still, even if he was the standout for AC, he did pick up a yellow card, his second on the season.

But even with the loss, there were some good things. AB Soccer Park was packed with fans. The attendance for last night’s game 5,695. While not actually a capacity crowd, which would be 6,000, the team said that all the tickets for the game were handed out and that there were no more ticket available anyway. And with the Cardinals being in town (and playing a 20 inning game, which saw the Mets win), it was a great crowd for the team.

In addition to the crowd, the atmosphere was electric. As we mentioned in a previous article, and as we tweeted on twitter yesterday during the game, the United Knights and Eads Brigade were in full force yet again with, what seems to be becoming a tradition, smoke bombs throughout the game. While this might give some in the front office and officials some headaches, it is what is currently separating us from the rest of the league. We do have a great group of dedicated fans.

In addition, this was the largest attendance for any team in the USSF Div 2 this season. And we will more than likely keep that title, until April 25th that is, when Montreal play their home opener against Portland.

Still, overall, there were mixed reactions to the game. Yes we could have played better, but having an injured team sure doesn’t help. Even so, the crowd capped off what would be a great night in St. Louis soccer. Now we just move on from here.

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7 Responses

  1. Nice write-up, and congrats on a very solid crowd at the team- and season-opener. Unfortunately that largest attendance record fell less than 2 hours after kickoff: Portland had more than 15K at their home opener against Rochester.

  2. Forgot about the Portland game lol. Yeah, they are going to have a good turnout, no surprise.

    Still, you guys owned us in the second half and you deserved it.

  3. Well the portland game started after the st louis one started…so we had the record momentarily

  4. I’m in Portland, and found your blog and look forward to following your team this year as they make their debut in the hybrid league.

    I also have a page that tracks league attendance and have done so since 2007. Though the size of your facility limits your attendance, you should be in competition with Rochester and Vancouver for 3rd highest attendance, which is very good for your first season.

    http://www.soccercityusa.com/2010uslatt.html

    I also know there are a group of Timbers fans looking to make the trip for the August 14 game there.

    I also do match reports for each games with lots of photos, and should be posted a few hours after your game in Portland next Thursday here:

    http://www.soccercityusa.com/timbers

    Good luck in your first year (except when you play us of course) 🙂

  5. “In addition, this was the largest attendance for any team in the USSF Div 2 this season. And we will more than likely keep that title, until April 25th that is, when Montreal play their home opener against Portland.”

    Is this arrogance of just downright stupidity thinking that Portland cannot draw a crowd of more than 5K in two home games?

  6. Fine Stu, but I was going to put NASL team, but I put USSF Division 2 instead, so I should have edited it. But as far as NASL, yes, it will be.

  7. Good report. Looking forward to seeing your take on our game with you on Saturday.

    You may be interested in this article about Claude Anelka

    http://aftnwebsite.blogspot.com/2010/04/claude-anelka-still-not-very-good-but.html

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