The locale might have changed, but the action repeated itself as the NSC Minnesota Stars came from behind to salvage a draw with AC St. Louis Sunday evening in the teams’ first meeting at AB Soccer Park. On July 14, in Minnesota, the two teams also drew 2-2, with Manny Lagos’ Stars coming from behind to draw level very late in the contest. Earlier in the season, NSC Minnesota came from behind for a win against the Saints 3-2, while AC St. Louis was able to win the US Open Cup match between the two expansion clubs, 1-0.
Offensive action began early in the game, as a offside call negated a chance in the 2nd minute by AC St. Louis, and midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer had a shot on goal in the 7th. AC St. Louis defender John Lesko was a hero for the home crowd of more than 2,000, clearing a loose ball off the goaline after AC St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty let a cross get away. NSC Minnesota forward Melvin Tarley put a shot on goal shortly afterwards, but it went directly to Dufty, and the Stars had another goal scoring chance in the 18th minute, but the AC St. Louis defense cleaned up the threat. AC St. Louis midfielder Gauchinho, returning from suspension, let go on a wide shot at the 28 minute mark, and AC St. Louis created a dangerous give and go between Mike Ambersley and Real Salt Lake loanee Collen Warren near the 37 mnute mark that wasn’t capitalized on. Finally, after Gauchinho had another shot that NSC Minnesota veteran keeper Joe Warren saved, Luke Kreamalmeyer netted with a hard shot from the left of goal in the 42nd minute. Ambersley and midfielder Jeff Cosgriff worked up another chance before half, but intermission came with AC St. Louis a goal up.
In the second half, AC St. Louis had another chance on goal in the 67th minute, but defender Mark Bloom’s header off a corner kick was too high. Then, the past began to reassert itself, as Tarley knotted the score on a well-placed header, with an assist by Kevin Friedland, in the 83rd minute. But the scoring was far from over, as Luke Kreamalmeyer got a brace when he converted a penalty kick two minutes later to give the St. Louisans the lead. AC St. Louis captain Jack Traynor drew the foul in the penalty area that gave AC St. Louis the penalty opportunity.
At that point, it looked like AC St. Louis would take three points, but never count Manny Lagos’ team out. I’d hate to play poker with Lagos, as he always seems to have an ace up his sleeve. And as before, his ace was Brian Cvilikas, who came into the game as a 73rd minute sub. Cvilikas was able to take a pass from Andrei Gotsmanov in stoppage time and cooly chip the ball over Dufty, rushing out to break up the play, for the game-tying goal, his fifth score of the season. AC St. Louis had a last gasp chance of gaining the win, but Troy Cole’s header at the end went jsut wide of the mark.
AC St. Louis and NSC Minnesota are quite evenly matched teams. Today’s stats bear that out..the Stars outshot AC St. Louis 16-13, but the Saints had the advantage on shots on goal, 6-5. Corner kicks were near even, with the Stars gaining five to the Saints four and even fouls and offside calls were close. The two Mississippi River teams must be drinking the same water. As an AC St. Louis fan, I wanted Dale Schilly’s squad to get the three points, but I think that most of the crowd felt they got their money’s worth with an entertaining, well-played contest and a good effort by both clubs. As Coach Schilly pointed out, “It was déjà vu all over again. The games are a game of moments, and we had two moments that we did not deal with. On the good side though we responded to both of their goals. When they tied it a 1-1 we were gassed, but we got forward and won a well-deserved penalty. Even after their second goal we came back at them again.”
For AC St. Louis, it was nice to see John Lesko get a start at the back, and he acquitted himself quite well. I was happy to see Chris Salvaggione back on the pitch after suffering an ankle injury against Austin a few weeks ago. Tim Velten, Troy Cole and Anthony O’Garro were the other substitutes for the Saints, while Lagos called on Lucas Rodriguez, Cvilikas, Neil Hlavaty, Gotsmanov and Warren Ukah in the last thirty minutes to level the game. I also got to speak briefly to AC St. Louis loanee Chris Schuler, who wasn’t dressed for the game. Chris is returning to Real Salt Lake tomorrow. He enjoyed the opportunity to get some playing time here, and I thanked him on behalf of the fans for the good effort he put in on behalf of the team, and wished him well. His fellow loanee from Real Salt Lake, Collen Warner, showed some quality touch and possession in his first AC St. Louis start, and young Stars’ midfielders Scott Lorenz and Geison Moura showed that they are developing into prime-time players.
AC St. Louis now stand at 5-10-6-5, while NSC Minnesota are 7-9-6. After a weekend of USSF D2 action that saw four draws in five games, the standings haven’t changed much with the season about two-thirds over for most of the clubs. The NSC Minnesota Stars have ten days off before ending their road trip in Portland, while AC St. Louis hosts the NASL Conference leading Vancouver Whitecaps next Friday evening at AB Soccer Park.
Man of the Match: Luke Kreamalmeyer …today’s brace puts him tied for 7th in the USSF D2 pointscoring race
First Star: Brian Cvilikas …another clutch goal for the striker from Old Dominion University
Second Star: Melvin Tarley …the veteran from Liberia was threatened in the first half before scoring in the 83rd minute
Third Star: John Lesko … the rookie defender from the University of South Carolina-Aiken showed poise and confidence in a rare start
AC St. Louis Starting Lineup: Dufty, Traynor, Lesko. Bauer, Bloom; Kreamalmeyer, Gauchinho, Warner, Stisser; Ambersley, Cosgriff
Filed under: AC St. Louis, NASL General News, NSC Minnesota Stars, USSF Division 2 News, Website News | Tagged: AC St. Louis, Brian Cvilikas, Dale Schilly, Luke Kreamalmeyer, Manny Lagos, Melvin Tarley, NSC Minnesota |