Goalkeeper Michael Creek made two saves in shootouts to help CITY2 earn the extra point
Although North Texas SC overcame a two-goal deficit and forced a draw, St Louis CITY2 remained poised and handled business in the ensuing shootouts to pick up two points and remain undefeated in their last four matches.
CITY2 put their foot on the gas pedal early. After CITY2 pushed the ball into North Texas SC’s own third, midfielder Akil Watts collected it and served it to forward Aziel Jackson, who had raced into the box. Jackson slipped the ball past the opponent’s goalkeeper to give the home team a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute. North Texas’ first high-quality scoring chance came in the 22nd minute when an attacker hammered an uncontested shot on goal from outside CITY2’s box, but goalkeeper Michael Creek rose in the air and swatted the ball just over the crossbar.
Minutes later, the home side added to their lead with another close-range finish. Looking to distribute from within North Texas SC’s box, Jackson angled a cross over a herd of players in front of the goal, finding defender Michael Wentzel in open space for a header to the far post that put CITY2 up 2-0 and gave him his first goal on the season. CITY2 continued its unrelenting attack as the half progressed, with Jackson and midfielder Isak Jensen each separating from their defenders for one-on-one opportunities against the away side’s goalkeeper, but neither player could power one home.
With the first half nearing its end, North Texas found a way to answer. Off a low cross driven into CITY2’s box from the left flank, an attacker for the away side headed one just past Creek before it bounced in and halved CITY2’s lead.
Hungry for a response, CITY2 plowed deep into the opponent’s half minutes into the new half. A string of passes outside the box created room for a cross, but the ball squirted just beyond the boot of a sliding attacker trying to redirect the pass in. In the 62nd minute, a North Texas SC attacker collected a ball that had been batted around inside CITY2’s goal area and tapped it in to equalize.
The match was back and forth the rest of the way, although CITY2 forced North Texas SC into a tough spot when defender Tyshawn Rose was shown a red card after having been booked for a yellow card early in the contest. Trying to capitalize on their one-man advantage, CITY2 played strategically to maintain possession in North Texas’ half. The team had a handful of on-frame shots in stoppage time but could not connect on any of them.
In the penalty shootouts for an extra point following the 2-2 draw, CITY2 netted its first three attempts. Creek dove to his left for a save on North Texas SC’s third shot, but then midfielder Max Schneider missed high on the following CITY2 attempt, so the shootouts remained even. After both teams bagged their next few attempts, Creek came up big once more, diving to his right for the save and securing CITY2’s 5-4 shootout win.
CITY2 hits the road for their second meeting of the season with Tacoma Defiance.
Michael Creek, Owen O’Malley (Sergio Rivas 82’), Michael Wentzel ©, Jon Bell, Selmir Pidro, Max Schneider, Miguel Perez (Wan Kuzain 64’), Akil Watts (AJ Palazzolo 82’), Faysal Bettache (John Klein 73’), Isak Jensen, Aziel Jackson (Nathan Ferguson 82’)
SUBSTITUTES NOT USED:
Christian Olivares, Fritz Volmar, Larsen Hackworth, Dida Armstrong