23 matches played and 12th place was not the vision we had back in the spring when STLFC started the 2019 campaign. Hopes of a league title, packed stands, and the Louligans pounding the bass drum for victory after victory were in the dreams of every fan in the Meramec river valley. But, even the best laid plans of mice and men…
On the first of September as the sun set and the temperature slowly dropped, a perfect evening was being painted for soccer at WWT Soccer Park. Hartford came into St. Louis County 2-3 in their past 5 matches, but 5 spots down in the standings from STLFC. Despite STL going 0-3-2 in their last 5, this was primed to be a get right match for our hometown men.
Early returns were good. STLFC opened the scoring in the 16th minute in the first half when Kadeen Dacres scored off of a beautiful pass from Fernandez. A gorgeous strike, thru traffic, buried in the upper right hand corner of the north end goal. The near capacity crowd roared, and from the feel of the flow of action, it looked like a blow out was coming.
Then a breakdown
It was fast, broken, sloppy, and Hartford was ready. An ugly busted play at mid-field led to one of the softer goals this side of the pond. Hartford took advantage of the lapse and the match was tied 1-1.
A goal like that can take the air out of a team and a stadium. But, FC did not break or waiver in their 1st half dominance. Constant pressure finally broke the Hartford defense in the 38th minute as Kyle Greig robbed a defender and found the back of the net to put FC back up a goal. Headed to the break 2-1, STLFC in full command.
The second 45ish
The second half was back and forth and back again for 19 minutes. Finally STLFC broke through. A rebound to a cross to a sliding goal by Kyle Greig…pure beauty. It looked like the curtain was coming down on the boys from the Nutmeg State.
But…in any athletic exhibition momentum moves like mercury. No more than 4 minutes later Hartford struck back. Not due to any superiority of play or athleticism…but on another defensive lapse by STLFC. Hartford pounced once again. A rocket off the crossbar, down, and back. 3-2…25 minutes left.
Things got testy, a couple of yellow cards were issued, a few more fouls, but STLFC took the game by the reigns and wrestled it to the ground. No more drama, no more winless streak. STLFC was back on track headed up the table.
If you’re a soccer fan here in the STL, this is your kind of week. The weather is breaking on Wednesday just in time for the Ottawa Fury FC to hit the Gateway, and the skies will stay clear and cool for another party on the pitch Saturday versus Nashville FC. Can the FC capture the greatness of tonight and eliminate the lapses? Can their offense continue relentless pressure and precise passing? Or will the lapses continue and will an infuriated goalkeeper have to bail out a defense with no excuses? Only the next seven days will tell.