St. Louis CITY academy teams returned to MLS NEXT action this weekend against Chicago FC United. The U16 squad suffer their first defeat at home, while the U17s dominated in their emphatic 7-1 win.
In the first match of the double header, St. Louis CITY’s U16 team had a strong start, as they looked to set the tempo in the opening minutes. FC United had a similar approach, which led to a balanced encounter in the early stages with both teams exchanging attacking blows. STL CITY struck first in the 25th minute, after Jack Dimaria played a lobbed pass over the defense to Jackson Delkus who slotted his shot in the bottom corner.
In the 31st minute, FC United won and converted a penalty. The equalizer provided a boost for their team, as they were able to find the go-ahead goal three minutes later. STL CITY continued their strong effort, but it was not enough to level the game before halftime. After the break, the boys came out with a lot of energy but despite dominating possession, the team couldn’t find the equalizer. After soaking up intense pressure from the STL CITY attack, FC United sealed the result late in the game, scoring on a breakaway counterattack.
In the second match, St. Louis CITY’s U17 was dominant from start to finish. Their energy and drive caught their opposition off guard early on which led to the first goal. The boys opened the scoring in the second minute after Tyler Sargent played in Kai Pope who volleyed STL CITY into the lead. Although STL CITY controlled every area of the game, FC United grabbed the equalizer in the 20th minute after scoring from a freekick on the edge of the box. Though both teams were looking for the next goal, it was STL CITY that found it, after Braydon Sellers whipped in a perfect cross for Pope to head home – giving STL CITY the lead at the break.
At the start of the second half the boys did an excellent job of creating chances and choosing the right moments to press, especially in the opponents’ half. After winning the ball back in the 55th minute, Sargent registered his second assist of the game, setting up Caden Glover for STL CITY’s third goal. Six minutes later, Pope sealed his hattrick after pouncing on a scramble in the box. Sellers also got in on the scoresheet, after slamming a well-placed shot in the bottom corner. With the game dwindling, Glover scored STL CITY’s sixth and seventh goal, while securing his hattrick in the process.
Both teams are back in action at Creve Coeur Park Soccer Complex next weekend, with the U17 squad facing Houston Dynamo on March 19, and the U16 team taking on Midwest United on March 20.
MATCHDAY NOTES – STARTING XI
Nick Bishop, Tyson Pearce, Gavin Netzel, Zach Stanton, Blas Urbano, Eddie Stewart, Jack Dimaria, Landon Weber, Zach Van Hee, Sam Leonard, Jackson Delkus
Owen Spore, Max Vuong, Nolan McGuire, Jacob Lusignan, Mikey Lay, Brian Franco, Connor Lovell, Nathan Yao, Braydon Sellers, Kai Pope, Tyler Sargent