KANSAS CITY, KS (August 21, 2016) – In a tough match against rival Swope Park Rangers, Saint Louis FC squandered a lead in the final minutes on Sunday evening to draw 1-1. The club’s playoff chance appear even bleaker now because of the dropped points.
Saint Louis FC Draw 1-1 In Late Collapse, Hurting Playoff Hopes
Interim Saint Louis head coach Tim Leonard did shake up the lineup a bit in his first game has head coach. He reunited Sam Fink and A.J. Cochran at center back. Normal super sub Jordan Roberts also made a rare start for the visiting team.
Saint Louis had a relatively good start compared to last game. They did not concede a goal in the opening 15 minutes.
The defense did give up several dangerous free kicks to Ayrton Pinheiro Victor in the first half, but did well defending them. Saint Louis’s back line shape was much better and individuals cut down angles on opposing attackers.
Swope Park nearly scored in the 37th minute. Dan Kelly and Kris Tyrpak got on a quick counter attack and got into the box. The last defender made a sliding tackle on Kelly, forcing him to give up the ball. Tyrpak got to the ball and buried it in the back of the net but he was called off-sides.
The half ended 0-0 with midfielder James Musa on a yellow card.
The match opened up in the start of the second half. Ayrton nearly set up a scoring chance off a corner two minutes into the half, but it was cleared out. Saint Louis FC answered with a corner kick from Mitch Lurie in the 50th minute that had to be cleared off the line by Ayrton. Musa would get header opportunity just moments later that was just over the bar.
Swope Park Rangers continues to increase pressure with Route 1 soccer. They found space with service from Ayrton to Kelly and Akeil Barrett. Kelly nearly scored in the 79th minute. Goalkeeper Ryan Thompson made a hurried pass out of the back that went right to Kelly at the top of the box. Kelly ran in and chipped the ball just over the bar.
Saint Louis FC shocked the home side with a goal out of nowhere just a minute later. Center back Tommy Meyer made a poor back pass to his keeper with Vince Cicciarelli pressuring him. Cicciarelli blew past the back line, ran onto the ball, and calmly slipped the ball past goalkeeper Zac Lubin.
The Rangers would press in the final 10 minutes, looking for the equalizer. They would ultimately break their I-70 Derby opponents hearts in the 89th minute. Swope Park got numbers into the box and created a chaotic scramble when Ayrton sent a through pass into the 6 yard box. A deflection fell to Barrett, who fired the ball into the back of the net.
The match would end 1-1.
Saint Louis FC are still just two points out of a playoff spot, but must jump over at least four teams to claim the 8th seed. Furthermore, they dropped points today that they desperately needed. They did so to a conference opponent ahead of them in the standings who they needed to gain ground on.
The Chupacabras now have just six games remaining, all of which are against teams currently in the playoffs. Their current playoff chances don’t look good, even with the recent coaching change.