Home Fans Treated to Dominant Performances by STL CITY’s Academy Teams
St. Louis CITY SC’s U16 and U17 academy teams put on another big performance at home! The U17s started the day with a hard-fought 4-3 win in MLS NEXT action, followed by the U16s overpowering Austin FC academy in a friendly game, extending their win streak in all competitions.
STL CITY’s U17s found themselves down early in the game after Austin FC found the back of the net 28 seconds into the match. After the goal, the boys got into their stride, producing lovely passages of play as they searched for the equalizer. In the 7th minute, Jacob Lusignan delivered an inch-perfect cross from a wide freekick, finding Josh Maher who calmly slotted home to level the game. STL CITY kept knocking on the door, controlling the flow of the game with relentless defending and counterattacking.
Despite dominating possession, STL CITY trailed again following a goalkeeper error in the 24th minute. However, there was a sense that the game had more goals coming, and after a spell of persistent pressure, STL CITY scored in the 35th minute when Lusignan slotted home a freekick from the edge of the box. With the team buzzing from the last goal, Lusignan sent the home fans into a frenzy after thumping a long-range effort into the top left corner of the net, sending STL CITY into the break with the lead.
The team carried over the heat from the first half, with Anthony Faupel powering past two defenders before sliding across to Miguel Perez, who added STL CITY’s fourth goal of the game. Austin FC closed the gap in the 60th minute, setting up an edgy finish to the game. Austin FC searched for the equalizer late in the match but STL CITY’s compact defense secured a much-needed win for the team.
“It was a real battle today,” said Luis Swisher, St. Louis CITY SC Academy Assistant Coach. “But I think in the end, the result is a fair indication of how the game went. I thought the boys played with a lot of energy even after going down twice in the game. We showed a lot of grit today, and I’m really proud of how the boys executed our game plan.”
STL CITY’s U16s started their game with a lot of promise, dominating possession from the first minute. Though the game was a friendly, it was clear the U16s meant business as they were actively hunting and pouncing on loose balls all over the pitch. Continuing his impressive goalscoring run, Jackson Delkus gave STL CITY the lead in the third minute, after calmly rolling a shot in the bottom left corner of the net.
Three minutes later, Delkus assisted STL CITY’s second, putting in a lovely cross for Zach VanHee, who volleyed home a brilliant strike from inside the box. STL CITY eventually added a third goal just before the end of the first half, when Edin Prgo latched onto a rebound off an Omar Cilic shot, putting the exclamation point on a dominant first half.
The U16 team maintained their intensity at the start of the second half and were unlucky not to capitalize on a few goalscoring opportunities. In the 57th minute, Cilic netted STL CITY’s fourth after pouncing on a rebound off a VanHee strike deep in midfield. Austin FC threatened to come back after scoring in the 79th and 90th minute, but a thunderous volley by Thomas Pratl late in the game closed out an impressive performance from the team.
“I’m really happy with the performance from the lads today,” said David Critchley, St. Louis CITY SC Academy Assistant Coach. “Even after leading the game since the third minute, we kept our focus and maintained our discipline on both sides of the ball. It felt good to get another win in front of our home fans today.”
MATCHDAY NOTES – STARTING XI
Tyson Pearce, Thomas Pratl, Zach Stanton, Kyle Schwartz, Gavin Netzel, Landon Weber, Eddie Stewart, Jack DiMaria, Zach VanHee, Jackson Delkus, Nick Bishop
Jacob Lusigan, Joshua Maher, Anthony Faupel, Aaron Heard, Miguel Perez, Tyler Sargent, Nathan Yao, Frtiz Volmar, Harrison Engel, Caden Glover, Mason Beck
To learn more about the academy, find player bios and rosters here.