FENTON, MO. (June 11, 2016) – Just when Saint Louis FC were on a four game winless streak, they get exactly what they needed: a match with Tulsa Roughnecks FC. The home side defeated Tulsa 7-1 on Saturday night at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. While several players had excellent games, it was the play of Seth Rudolph in his first ever USL start that was the most impressive.
Seth Rudolph Shines In First Ever Saint Louis FC Start
— USL (@USL) June 12, 2016
The 24-year-old Belleville, IL native started the match off with a bang. In form striker Irvin Herrera got to a ball out wide. Rudolph made a cutting run into the box, pointing to where he wanted Herrera to send the cross in. Rudolph got between the center backs and made a fantastic near-post touch to direct the ball to the far-side netting.
Prior to this match, Rudolph had played only three minutes, coming off the bench at Tulsa. He was hands down the most inexperienced player in the Starting XI for head coach Dale Schilly. Scoring a goal early on the game had to make the youngster and the struggling team feel good.
“It really boosted the team confidence and paved the way for more goals throughout the game,” said Rudolph after the match.
It wasn’t just that Rudolph scored, it was how he scored that has to get Saint Louis FC and their fans excited. He recognized that Herrera was going to get to that ball and have space to make something happen. He immediately made a run into the box to get into position (getting there before both Jamiel Hardware and Brandon Barklage, I might add). He then calls his shot, communicating with Herrera where he wants the ball. Then, that finish. What a toe poke to in midair to score!
That play showed good Soccer IQ, quick reflexes, awareness of his surroundings, and sound technical ability. What more could Schilly and the coaching staff ask for from a kid making his first start?
Saint Louis FC built up a 3-0 lead by half time, but they didn’t sit back in the second frame.
Rudolph ran onto a through pass from James Musa in the 50th minute. He took a quick touch to get some space as the defense pushed up then fired a howitzer from the top of the box into the upper left corner of the goal. This was an absolute golazo, and could be nominated for the USL Goal of the Week.
Rudolph continued to be very active, making cutting runs from the midfield, and getting chances. An argument can be made that he should have had a hat trick in this match.
From that point on, Saint Louis FC pored it on the Roughnecks, winning 7-1. Herrera had a brace along with Rudolph. Vince Cicciarelli scored in garbage time as well, continuing to show he has a good work rate.
Saint Louis FC has found several depth scoring options in addition to their primary striker, Herrera. Cicciarelli is quality substitute for Herrera. Hardware is developing into a play-making No. 10, who can get assists and score. Rudolph and Jordan Roberts (who also scored against Tulsa) are helping out now.
Tulsa are bottom of the table in the Western Conference. Saint Louis FC have shown they can beat bad teams and get points at home. They now need to take this form and get results against good teams and on the road. If they do so, they’ll be in the playoffs this fall.