FENTON, MO. (July 9, 2016) – For the third game in a row, Saint Louis FC came up a bit short. The theme of the club under-performing at home also continued. Saint Louis lost to FC Cincinnati 2-1 on Saturday night. Omar Cummings stole the show, being involved in both goals for the visitor. Once again, speed and quick counters doomed Saint Louis FC.
FC Cincy Speed Sinks Saint Louis FC, 2-1
FC Cincy got off to a hot start in the eighth minute. The visitors were able get a turnover in the midfield off a pass from Mike Ambersley. Sean Okoli won the ball and made a through pass to Cummings. The Jamaican International ran in alone on goal and fired the ball near post past goalkeeper Ryan Thompson. There were shouts for offsides, but the goal stood.
Regardless of the forward’s position relative to the back line, Saint Louis FC had several chances to prevent the chance from ever happening.
Ambersley could have been a bit more accurate on the back pass instead of just sending it in the general direction of the center backs. One of the holding midfielders could have marked Okoli a bit tighter or pressured him to prevent him from getting the ball and making the past. Someone could have marked Okoli and Cummings to prevent them from ghosting between the lines. Thompson could have made the save.
Cincinnati stayed organized throughout the match, favoring the counter at times in the second half. Saint Louis had a good response to giving up the goal, but were unable to finish. The FC Cincy back line did a very good job marking the ever dangerous Irvin Herrera all night.
The visitors doubled their advantage in the 78th minute. Cummings got the ball in a dangerous position after a nice build up play. The forward spun around to create space and get a shot off. The shot went straight at Thompson, who coughed up a rebound. Eric Stevenson ran in on goal unmarked and tapped it in.
While this goal was not the direct result of collective errors, several players were in the vicinity of Cummings and couldn’t prevent the shot. In everyone focusing on him, no player picked up Stevenson. Thompson did well to make the first save, but gave up the rebound and couldn’t make the second save.
Saint Louis FC’s defensive issues appear to be systematic and mental. And they go back to last year. The 4-2-3-1 still has issues with preventing and stopping quick counters. Collective mistakes are leading to scoring chances. FC Cincy is clearly the faster team. But the game plan and execution could have been better.
Some of these mistakes are due to youth. Those will be fixed with time as many first and second year USL professionals get more experience.
The rest is up to head coach Dale Schilly, who needs to put his team in a position to succeed and get them to play more consistently. That’s what playoff teams do.