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Crystal Palace Baltimore Visits AC St. Louis Saturday Night

Crystal Palace Baltimore begins a five game road trip in St. Louis Saturday night at 7:10 pm.  The Eagles have dropped their first two games of the season at their University of Maryland-Baltimore County home.  Both AC St. Louis and CP Baltimore seek their first points in 2010.

Crystal Palace Baltimore were formed in 2006 and is part of the player development system for the Crystal Palace FC squad of London, who currently are in the English Coca-Cola Championship league.  However, with the season almost over, the parent club faces relegation to League One after having 10 points deducted for being placed in administration due to financial problems.  Both teams share red, blue and white colors.

Crystal Palace Baltimore began play in 2007 in the USL-2 league, a step below the previous USL-1 status of  most of AC St. Louis’ opponents this year.  They finished 4th, 8th and 6th at that level in their three previous seasons.  In late 2009, they joined other former USL-1 teams and new teams in St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Minnesota in relaunching the NASL.

Coach Jim Cherneski has several returning veterans on his 2010 team.  Forward Gary Brooks, CP Baltimore’s leading scorer in 2007 and 2008, returns after a year at Real Maryland.  Portuguese midfielder Val Teixeira, who led the team with five goals in 2009, also returns in the attack and is joined by former New York Red Bull and Charleston Battery forward Randi Patterson.  Matthew Mbuta, who scored the Eagles’ only goal this season on a penalty kick, also will be part of the attack, along with Cuban Yakiel Perez and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake from Japan.  The team is captained by Brazilian forward/midfielder Neto.  Takuro Nishimura came from the Portland Timbers to help out on defensively along with Englishman Shaun Pejic from the Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian John Jonke.  Stephen Basso,  Paul Robson, Andrew Marshall are holdovers from last year’s defense.  New goalkeepers Evan Bush and Chase Harrison have both started a game in 2010.

The season has started slowly for CP Baltimore, but Coach Cherneski feels that “We did some good things in the first two games.  But we missed the chances that we created. We’ve worked a lot on our finishing this week and the guys look sharp. We’ve also worked hard on our defensive shape and hopefully all these things will come together and we’ll be able to go out and beat St Louis.”

AC St. Louis is getting healthy entering Saturday’s clash.  Veteran forward/midfielder Mike Ambersley is cleared to play, and former MLS star  Steve Ralston may get his first minutes of the season in the midfield.  The decision to play Ralston or keep him out another week seemingly will be a last-minute call.  So far, AC St. Louis hasn’t been able to put a consistent 90 minutes together, and last week were unable to force a save from Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly, so offensive improvement is a must for a team that has only scored one goal in four contests.  Elvir Kafedzic will be missing from the attack due to injury, but hopefully Brad Stisser and Chris Salvaggione are back.   Coach Claude Anelka’s defense played well in the second half of the Vancouver contest, and goalkeeper Alec Dufty is growing into his job, seeming more confident every week. 

I’m looking forward to a good game between two evenly matched clubs.   CP Baltimore has the edge in experience, but AC St. Louis will benefit from a rockin’ crowd behind them at AB Soccer Park.  Let’s pack the house and get our first win !!!

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One Response

  1. If St. Louis cannot beat a second rate team like Crystal Palace, then it has no place in Division II soccer here in the United States.

    St. Louis had better put some points on the board with a big win.

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