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AC St. Louis vs. Vancouver preview

It has been a hard season for AC St. Louis, and we have only played three games so far.

In all three games, we have yet to create many offensive opportunities. Injuries throughout the team, especially with our forwards, has also hindered our performance. AC constantly looks like they are defending and can rarely push the ball forward. And when they are in the defensive zone, there seems to always be some type of confusion. Honestly, it isn’t the start that most of us were expecting. True, we all might have known that it might be hard for AC St. Louis to compete this season, but this is far worse than we expected.

Still, AC will play their second game in three days, resembling more of a hockey schedule than a soccer schedule, as they continue their western road trip in Vancouver tonight. Vancouver has been one of the most consistent USL teams in the past four years, being USL First Division Champions in 2006 and 2008, while being the runners up last year. Still, their play in the playoffs usually make up for some lackluster play in the regular season. AC will have their work cut out for them.

Unlike last year, Vancouver will be playing without 2009 USL All-Star Charles Gbeke, who is now playing over in China. Instead, Vancouver will rely on their rock solid defense to help them win the game. So far this season, Vancouver has yet to allow a goal. And much of that has to do with former Real Salt Lake keeper Jay Nolly. So, if AC is looking for a victory tonight, it might be hard against this defense, especially with the woes that AC is currently dealing with in their injured striking force.

This game looks to be a possible defensive stalemate, which wouldn’t hurt AC at all. Coming out of Vancouver with a draw would be considered a victory. But if St. Louis plans on scoring, it will more than likely have to do with luck than with offensive skill. Therefore, AC has two keys to tonight’s game. First, penetrate Vancouver’s defense, which might be a lot easier said than done.

Second, if AC cannot push the ball up, control the midfield play and keep the ball in the middle third. We have seen in the last few matches that AC can control the ball at the midfield, but once the ball goes outside the middle third, they AC loses control. So if St. Louis wants to play toward a draw, then they need to control that midfield play. Therefore, it is crucial that Luke Kreamalmeyer and Manu Kante are on top of their games tonight. I would add Jack Traynor, but don’t know if he will be playing defender or midfield. In my opinion, he should play midfielder, as he does produce some qualify chances on goal.

As of right now we don’t know who the lineup will be for AC St. Louis. Therefore, it will be hard to figure out what coach Claude Anelka’s plan of attack might be. But whatever it is, it might not be pretty. Again, injuries are starting to catch up with us.

The game will be broadcasted live on the Vancouver Whitecaps website tonight at 6 PM CDT.

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4 Responses

  1. Elvir Kafedzic is definetely out for AC St. Louis, as are defender Blake Wagner and midfielders Jonny Steele and Takashi Hirano for Vancouver.

  2. I assume that Brad Stisser is still out too.

  3. Possible starters for tonight, but not 100%:

    Possibles:
    Dufty
    Bauer
    Velten
    Nzinga
    O’Garro
    Traynor
    Kante
    Kreamalmeyer
    Bloom
    Cosgriff
    Titton

  4. Just got an email from the team, and this is the starting lineup.

    Dufty
    Bauer
    Traynor
    Kreamalmeyer
    O’Garro
    Chirishian
    Titton
    Nzinga
    Kante
    Bloom
    Barna

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