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AC St. Louis Begins 4 Game Road Trip In Minnesota Wednesday Night

Coming off their biggest win of the season, a 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact at home Saturday, AC St. Louis begins a four game road trip Wednesday night at 7:00 pm CDT in Blaine, Minnesota against the NSC Minnesota Stars.  The two Mississippi River rivals have met twice so far in 2010, with NSC Minnesota beating AC St. Louis at home 3-2 in league play and AC St. Louis knocking NSC Minnesota out of the US Open Cup with a 1-0 win in June.  Both expansion teams have improved play recently and both look to move up the standings.

For NSC Minnesota, a strong defense has led them to capture 16 points in their last eight league games.  Veteran goalkeeper Joe Warren, who took over the regular keeper duties after Louis Crayton was injured in the first game of the season, has five clean sheets in 16 starts.   Defender Kyle Altman leads USSF D2 in minutes played,  and along with Andres Arango, Kevin Friedland, Chris Clements and Brian Kallman, has anchored a backline that has gotten better as the season has progressed.  Arango, whose play has been outstanding, will be unavailable for the Stars Wednesday night, though, due to suspension after his accumulation of five yellow cards on the season.

Offensively, forward Brian Cvilikas leads the team with 8 points on 3 goals and 2 assists.  Neil Hlavaty has also scored three times, and Daniel Wasson has chipped in with 2 goals in 2010.   Coach Manny Lagos has lost midfielder LeiLei Gao, who returned to play professionally in his native China recently.  Melvin Tarley and Warren Ukah are frontline veterans who have each scored a goal this season, and former LA Galaxy and DC United midfielder Ely Allen is part of the midfield mix that also includes Kentaro Takada, Andrei Gotsmanov, Two-Boys Gumede, Scott Lorenz and Geison Moura.  Lorenz, a former University of Wisconsin Badger, and 23 year-old Brazilian Moura have been finding more playing time in Lagos’ midfield, as veteran forward/midfielder Johnny Menyongar has battled injuries.  After a decent start to the season, the Stars went through a rough patch but are 5-2-1 in their last eight games.

AC St. Louis has also been headed in the right direction recently.  New Coach Dale Schilly has gone 1-1-2 in his four league games since replacing Claude Anelka, with AC St. Louis scoring four goals and giving up three.  Goalkeeper Alec Dufty has kept two clean sheets in the four games since Schilly took over, and has five shutouts in his last eight matches in all competitions.  Defender Dillon Barna will be sidelined for quite a while with a broken clavicle, but Zach Bauer returned from a foot injury two games ago and took over where he left off, defending very well and showing maturity beyond his years.  Also unable to play in last Saturday’s game were midfielders Brad Stisser and Mike Ambersley.

After giving up a late goal against Vancouver last Thursday night to come away with one point instead of three, Schilly made several changes in his starting lineup and substituted early in the match, making two changes Saturday before halftime.  His strategy seemed to pay off as AC St. Louis looked much brighter and aggressive than their opponents, the Montreal Impact, and the AC St. Louis players responded with a season high three goals in one game, as Chris Salvaggione, Luke Kreamalmeyer and Jeff Cosgriff all connected in the second half for an exciting, well-earned victory.  The re-energized AC St. Louis team seems ready to make a move up the standings, and with Crystal Palace Baltimore only three points ahead of the cellar-dwellars and Miami FC only two points ahead, and with AC St. Louis having a game in hand, the time looks right for AC St. Louis to make a run and get into playoff contention before a long string of home games in August.  As team captain Jack Traynor remarked, “As a team we are all starting to trust each other, which is always a key to having some success. We have a new mentality since Dale has arrived. We don’t try to sneak wins anymore. We try to win games outright now. I think that showed in our last game with a 3-0 victory. We are simply playing more soccer now. This new staff has definitely turned our attitude around as a team.”

This should be a very close match.  Both teams are performing better, and AC St. Louis has demonstrated that it can be competitive on the road, winning in Puerto Rico and drawing in Portland and Vancouver.  Both head to head games earlier this season have been one goal victories, although NSC Minnesota was unlucky not to score in the Open Cup game.  After Wednesday’s contest, AC St. Louis continue their road trip in Austin Saturday, then play in Montreal next Wednesday before heading to Baltimore the following Saturday.  Their next home match is Wednesday, June 28, against the Portland Timbers.   Online live streaming of each game will be available.  GO AC !!!

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2 Responses

  1. Tonight’s travel squad for AC St. Louis against NSC Minnesota: Ambersley, Bauer, Becker, Bloom, Cole, Cosgriff, Dufty, Gauchinho, Kafedzic, Kreamalmeyer, Lesko, Moore, O’Garro, Salvaggione, Stisser, Titton, Traynor and Velten.

  2. One minor correction, the next home game is, of course, July 28 and not June 28, but othewise this is an excellent article with a lot of interesting information, thanks Gerry.

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