Late Winner Secures St. Louis CITY’s First Three Points in MLS NEXT opener
What a way to kick-off St. Louis CITY SC’s first-ever match! Those lucky enough to be at the game witnessed a spirited performance from the U17s in a goal fest at SeatGeek Stadium.
St. Louis CITY started the game on the back foot, going two goals down in the first 20 minutes before midfielder Miguel Perez calmly dispatched St. Louis CITY’s first-ever goal after retrieving the ball from a counter press in midfield. After the goal, the momentum shifted in favor of STL CITY and the team showed their grit and determination as they became more aggressive – with players pressuring Chicago’s defense and forcing turnovers high up the pitch.
“It was a great game of soccer,” said Lutz Pfannenstiel, St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director and Acting Academy Head Coach. “We started a little slow but once we found our feet, I thought we did a great job of controlling the game. I am extremely happy for our players and coaches whose names will forever be associated with the first historic win for our club.”
Anthony Faupel subbed on in the 36th minute and seemed to do something special every time he touched the ball, and it was he who slipped Caden Glover in behind the Chicago defense for his thunderous strike, tying the game up for St. Louis CITY in the 56th minute. Four minutes later, Faupel picked up the ball deep in midfield, dribbled past a Chicago defender before thumping a lovely strike from distance into the top right corner of the net, giving St. Louis CITY its first lead of the game.
The lead was short-lived as Chicago leveled three minutes later, with an equally unbelievable strike from distance, setting up a great finish for the final minutes of the game. St. Louis CITY continued to knock on the door, piling the pressure on Chicago Fire’s defense with quick attacking play. STL CITY got closer and closer with a lovely string of passes eventually finding the feet of Connor Lovell, who whipped a cross that was deflected to birthday boy Kai Pope, who slotted a composed shot in the bottom corner of the net – giving St. Louis CITY its first-ever win.
“I thought our guys were a lot more prepared than the opposition,” explains Luis Swisher, St. Louis CITY Academy Assistant Coach. “I was really impressed with our reaction after being down so early in the first half. It shows a lot about the character and fight of our players. I thought we had the most success when we got pressure on the ball high up the pitch which led to our goals. We’re happy our fans got the chance to celebrate our club’s first win.”
St. Louis CITY SC’s academy teams will continue their MLS NEXT season when they host Shattuck St. Mary’s (Minnestoa) at Creve Couer Soccer Complex on Saturday, September 4. To learn more about the academy players, please find all player bios, headshots, and group images in this link here. To stay up to date with St. Louis CITY SC, follow the club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.