U16s Earn Hard-Fought 1-0 Win, U17s Show Spirited Effort in Seven Goal Thriller
This past weekend, St. Louis CITY SC’s Academy teams split the result against Indiana Fire Academy. A late goal secures the club’s U16 team a 1-0 win in a closely contested game, while the U17 squad came up short, falling 4-3 in their goal-filled matchup.
STL CITY’s U16 team had a flying start to the match, with the players hustling to generate attacking moments in the final third. However, they were faced with resistance against a strong defensive Indiana Fire team, who were equally aggressive in the opening minutes. Both teams disrupted each other’s build-up play resulting in a first half stalemate.
STL CITY started the second half with drive and purpose, creating numerous opportunities but just lacked that final touch in dangerous areas. With Indiana Fire’s side settling into the second half and gaining their footing, STL CITY’s first big chance in the 60th minute shifted the momentum back towards STL CITY when midfielder Gavin Netzel whipped in a cross from the right-hand side to Jackson Delkus, who sent a composed shot just wide of the post. Following that goal scoring opportunity, STL CITY began attacking with more frequency and confidence. One of those moments came in the 67th minute when Landon Weber played a wonderful give-and-go with Delkus in the midfield, before thumping a long-range strike on frame forcing a fingertip save from the Indiana Fire goalkeeper.
Despite creating more chances in the second half than their opposition, it seemed like STL CITY would have to settle for a goalless draw. However, in the 84th minute, STL CITY made another push with Delkus picking up the ball deep in the midfield before dribbling past two defenders and sending a well hit shot into the bottom left corner, securing the U16’s third straight victory.
“It was a close game without many clear opportunities,” said David Critchley, St. Louis CITY SC Academy Assistant Coach. “But I was really impressed with the fight and discipline of the players, especially in the second half. I have always said, we have quality players who can make a difference in key moments, and you saw that in the game.”
STL CITY’s U17 team came into the game looking to bounce back following their first loss of the season but were met with a spirited performance from Indiana Fire Academy who grabbed an early lead in the fifth minute of the contest. STL CITY responded well to the early conceded goal by playing more aggressively, leading to continuous waves of attack.
The U17 squad’s aggressive attack finally paid off when Braydon Sellers was fouled in the 16th minute and Jacob Lusignan scored with the free kick deep on the left-hand side, leveling the game at 1-1. STL CITY would add another goal only nine minutes later, after Lusignan played a lovely ball behind the defense for Sellers who rocketed a shot in the bottom left corner of the net to give STL CITY the 2-1 lead. Indiana Fire equalized in the 38th minute from the penalty spot, rounding out an entertaining first half.
Aaron Heard came on at the start of the second half and was immediately involved in creating chances for the team. In the 47th minute, he found himself in space on the left wing before reversing a pass to Nathan Yao on the edge of the box, who slammed home a shot, giving STL CITY their second lead of the game at 3-2. The lead was short-lived as Indiana equalized in the 51st minute before taking the lead in the 58th minute. Despite showing major flashpoints in search of a goal in the final minutes, STL CITY’s U17s came up just short, resulting in their second defeat of the season.“
We didn’t play to our potential and that is the most disappointing part,” explained Luis Swisher, St. Louis CITY SC Academy Assistant Coach. “Of course, we want to win but as a team we must learn to do a better job of starting and finishing games stronger. It is something for us to correct as coaches and we will be focusing on solutions this week in training.”
MATCHDAY NOTES – STARTING XI
Tyson Pearce, Thomas Pratl, Zach Stanton, Dustin Randazzo, Gavin Netzel, Landon Weber, Eddie Stewart, Jack DiMaria, Edin Prgo, Jackson Delkus, Nick Bishop
Jacob Lusigan, Joshua Maher, Anthony Faupel, Brian Franco, Miguel Perez, Oscar Solis, Nathan Yao, Frtiz Volmar, Braydon Sellers, Caden Glover, Owen Spore
To learn more about the academy, find player bios and rosters here.