On a humid Friday night in St. Louis, AC St. Louis and the Puerto Rico Islanders played to a 1-1 draw. St. Louis takes the two game season series from the Islanders after winning in Bayamon in early June. Thursday night, FC Tampa Bay drew with the visiting NASL Conference leading Vancouver Whitecaps also by a 1-1 score.
The Islanders, in their white kit, drew first blood before a crowd of over 2,200 fans at AB Soccer Park. Nicholas Addlery, who scored in Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League group play match against Honduran squad Olimpia, netted his fifth league goal in USSF D2 league play. His 18th minute shot from inside the box beat AC St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty. AC St. Louis was able to knot the score in the 42nd minute as Mike Ambersley, the USSF D2 July Player of the Month, converted a penalty kick. The kick was brought on when Islanders’ defender Marco Velez brought down Saints’ defender John Lesko in the box during a corner kick. Ambersley goal was his team-leading seventh of the season.
AC St. Louis had a good opportunity to take the lead in the 59th minute. Ambersley tested Islanders’ netminder Bill Gaudette, who responded with a big save but the rebound fell to AC St. Louis’ Luke Kreamalmeyer. He passed to substitute Brad Stisser, but Stisser’s shot flew over the net. The contest was halted in the 82nd minute, as severe threatening storms and lightning moved into the area. After more than an hour delay, the game was not resumed and each team got a point from the match.
In a post-game comment with the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Tom Timmerman, Coach Dale Schilly had this to say. “We’re playing better, but we need wins,” Schilly said, referring to the team’s battle for a playoff spot. “I’m not sure how to feel about this (tie). Puerto Rico is a quality team and I like the way we were coming on. But with our position in the standings, we really need the three points
Teenage sensation Luis Gil, on loan from Real Salt Lake, was a 70th minute substitute for AC St. Louis, and entered the contest to chants of his name from supporters’ groups. Newly acquired midfielder Michael Videira, who was recently released by the New England Revolution, made his Saints’ debut as a starter in the midfield. Both the Islanders and the Saints tallied seven shots, but only three were on frame. Colin Clarke’s Islanders leave St. Louis with a 7-7-8 mark. Their next match is in CCL play as they take on FAS of El Salvador on August 25. AC St. Louis gets a nine day break before resuming action on the road against fellow expansion team FC Tampa Bay. AC St. Louis end their home stand with a 1-1-3 mark.
Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, FC Tampa Bay were unable to grab three points against the Vancouver Whitecaps and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Despite outshooting the Whitecaps 17-6, the Rowdies were unable to give their home crowd of over 2,500 a win. Tampa native Blake Wagner opened the scoring for the Whitecaps in the 7th minute, as his long distance blast beat 19 year-old Josh Lambo, who was only making his third start in goal for FC Tampa Bay in 2010. The Rowdies were able to equalize in the 26th minute, as Aaron King was able to beat Jay Nolly off a Jonny Steele shot and net his ninth goal of the campaign. Unfortunately, King tweaked a hamstring on the play and had to be substituted.
FC Tampa Bay kept the pressure up, and two former Whitecaps had chances to humble their former team. Steele hit the crossbar right before halftime. His former Vancouver runningmate in the midfield, Ricardo Sanchez, also missed a golden opportunity. In the 83rd minute, Rowdies’ loanee Maykel Galindo showed his class by eluding defenders and getting off a good shot that Nolly was able to stop. The rebound came to Sanchez with a wide-open goalmouth nearby, but he somehow struck the crossbar, as the Rowdies hit the woodwork four times in the evening. Vancouver had a chance two minutes later, but Lambo came up big and denied Cornelius Stewart in a one on one confrontation.
Rowdies’ coach Paul Dalglish was philosophical after the match. “I think when I wake up tomorrow I’ll think this was a good point that we just earned, but right now it feels like two points lost because of the way we played. We need to get on a little run of victories before the playoffs start,” said Dalglish. “I’m telling you now that anybody who watches our tapes won’t fancy seeing us in the playoffs.”
The Rowdies kept hold of a playoff berth, thanks to the inability of the teams behind them to pick up a win this week. Their next game is at home on Wednesday against the Carolin RailHawks. The Whitecaps leave Tampa with a 9-3-12 mark and stay atop the NASL Conference. Newly acquired American striker Cody Arnoux, who signed with Everton in August, 2009 before being released recently, made his USSF D2 debut in the game. Coach Teitur Thordarson also gave playing time to other recent additions Ridge Mouolu, Terry Dunfield and Jonathan McDonald. The Whitecaps have a ten game respite to integrate the new players into the squad before resuming action with a huge matchup at home against the Austin Aztex.
AC St. Louis Starting Lineup: Dufty, Bloom, Lesko, Velten, Gauchinho, Kreamalmeyer, Cosgriff, Cole, Salvaggione, Videira, Ambersley, Subs Used: Stisser, Gil
Puerto Rico Starting Lineup: Gaudette, Velez, Rivera, Martinez, Horst, Salem, Gbandi, Delgado, Daniel, Fana, Addlery, Subs Used: Hansen, Emory, Foley, Villaroel
FC Tampa Bay Starting Lineup: Lambo, Valentino, Tatters, Valentin, Diaz, Steele, Yamada, Sanchez, Tan, Galindo, King, Subs Used: Millen, Wheeler
Vancouver Starting Lineup: Nolly, Bellisomo, Knight, Janicki, Hirano, Wagner, Dunfield, Nash, Davies, Stewart, Mobulu, Arnoux, Subs Used: Williams, Edwini-Bonsu, McDonald