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AC St. Louis Surrender Two Goal Lead, Draw with NSC Minnesota Wednesday

AC St. Louis made its third trip of 2010 to Blaine, Minnesota to play the NSC Minnesota Stars on Wednesday night.  The teams, which have split their two previous meetings (one was a US Open Cup match), ended up tied 2-2, with Jeff Cosgriff and Chris Salvaggione each scoring their second goals of the season for AC St. Louis.  AC St. Louis, however, had a replay of their last road game in Vancouver and gave up goals late in the game to Brian Cvilikas and Brazilian Geison Moura to only take one point from the match.

It was a warm, breezy, humid evening at kickoff and both teams seemed to pace themselves a bit.  NSC Minnesota’s veteran defender Kevin Friedland had a side volley shot at the 10 minute mark off a corner kick but his shot sailed high.  AC St. Louis’ Tim Velten played a nice cross into the Stars’ box a minute later, but no AC St. Louis player could take advantage.  Mark Bloom had a shot right at Stars’ goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel, off of a quality Gauchinho pass, but Van Oelker handled the shot with confidence.  Gauchinho had another good run down the right side at the 25 minute mark, crossing to Jeff Cosgriff who chipped a ball that Mike Ambersley handled but couldn’t get into the Minnesota goal.    At the 34th minute, NSC Minnesota’s Brian Cvilikas had a great chance from the right side, and had AC St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty beaten, but shot wide.  Gauchinho suffered an injury, and was replaced by Anthony O’Garro, who slotted into the left back position with Tim Velten moving up to the midfield. 

 In the 43rd minute, defender Mark Bloom shot a low cross from the right to Jeff Cosgriff, and the tall Californian beat Van Oekel to give AC St. Louis a 1-0 lead.  In stoppage time, AC St. Louis midfielder Troy Cole was harshly called for a handball in the box, giving NSC Minnesota a penalty kick.  Dufty was able to dive to his right to save the attempt and keep AC St. Louis ahead going into intermission.

The second half began with NSC Minnesota defender making a nice play on a Mike Ambersley break a few minutes after play resumed.  NSC Minnesota Melvin Tarley had two chances in front of the net, but was unable to put his shots on target.  In the 65th minute, AC St. Louis struck again as Chris Salvaggione netted, assisted by Luke Kreamalmeyer.  Kreamalmeyer almost added another goal three minutes later when his left footed shot beat van Oekel but hit the NSC Minnesota post.  But NSC Minnesota didn’t let down, and began building pressure the last fifteen minutes of the game.  Dufty made a confident grab of a cross in the box with Stars’ players all over him. 

The pressure by NSC Minnesota was unrelenting, as Dufty had to scramble to grab a through ball in the box from Lucas Rodriguez, and another Stars’ sub, Simone Bracalello, put a header just over the goal with about ten minutes left.   Finally, though, the dam broke, as Brian Cvilikas scored his fourth goal of the year off an excellent cross by another NSC Minnesota sub, Andrei Gotsmanov in the 87th minute.  NSC Minnesota had another chance two minutes later, but Geison Moura hit the side netting on a close shot from a bad angle.  Moura, however, made amends as he scored the game-tying goal in stoppage time, to the delight of the NSC Minnesota crowd of over 2,100, and the disappointment of AC St. Louis Coach Dale Schilly and his team.  All in all, a fair but disappointing result for AC St. Louis fans, but it’s good to see the team scoring goals and playing better on offense.

Elvir Kafedzic, Brad Stisser and John Lesko were second half substitutes for AC St. Louis.  Gauchinho played very well before getting hurt, and Jeff Cosgriff continues to impress, as does Chris Salvaggione.  Mike Ambersley had some good touches upfront, and the backline looked solid but overtaxed towards the end of the game.  Give credit to Coach Manny Lagos’ squad for not giving up, and forcing AC St. Louis to settle for only one point.   AC St. Louis is now 3-8-4, while NSC Minnesota is now 7-9-3.  AC St. Louis next plays in Austin Saturday night in a game against the league’s best team.

AC St. Louis Starting Lineup:  Dufty, Bloom, Bauer, Velten, Traynor, Kreamalmeyer, Gauchinho, Cole, Cosgriff, Ambersley, Salvaggione

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