RECAP: Saint Louis FC v Sacramento Republic

RECAP: Saint Louis FC v Sacramento Republic

St. Louis, MO – Saint Louis FC fell to Sacramento Republic FC, 3-4 on Saturday night in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,453 at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. The defeat capped off a disappointing homestand in which STLFC took only 5 of a possible 12 points, amidst an increasingly important stretch in the Western Conference playoff race.

Many of the same problems that have plagued Saint Louis over the course of the season tonight as a slow start saw the hosts 3 goals down within just 17 minutes. Jeffrey Koval opened the scoring for Republic FC in the 5th minute, getting on the end of a Tommy Thompson cross and heading the visitors into an early lead. FC's troubles were doubled just 6 minutes later after Sacramento's Matt Le Grassa pounced on a defensive error and played in Republic frontman Cameron Iwasa. Iwasa, Sacramento's leading goal-scorer punished STLFC, slotting his 8th goal of the season past Ryan Thompson. And just 6 minutes later Saint Louis FC's humiliation was complete when La Grassa found Octavio Guzman at the back post with a brilliant cross that the defender hammered home.

However, in the 26th minute, Saint Louis FC did manage to pull a goal back. Mike Ambersley, who scored against the Republic at Bonney Field in August, got his second goal against the California club when Irvin Herrera broke down the left and played a low ball into his feet. The chance looked to be gone as Ambersley lingered on the ball but he managed to shift the ball onto his left foot and fire a low shot in off of goalkeeper Evan Newton's left-hand post. In the 38th minute, STLFC were forced into an early change, bringing on Jordan Roberts for Schillo Tshuma who limped off injured.

Saint Louis FC went into the break down 3-1 and made a change immediately coming out of the break, bringing on Sam Fink for Tyler David – moving James Musa into the midfield. It was a much brighter start for the hosts at the beginning of the half, but in the 57th minute, Cameron Iwasa looked to kill the game off for good, heading in a Tommy Thompson cross for his 9th goal of the season and second of the night.

But the game was far from over. After bringing on newly-signed Chicago Fire loanees Alex Morrell and Collin Fernandez, FC made a strong push over the last 25 minutes and were rewarded when Jordan Roberts scored a patented strike, cutting onto his favored right foot and firing a rocket past Newton from the edge of the area.  "I feel really confident that I can come in the game and create chances and get past defenders.", said the Englishman who has been a massive asset for Saint Louis FC coming off of the bench this season. The comeback was well and truly on, though, when Chad Bond curled in a fantastic free kick right on the stroke of 90 minutes for his second goal of the season. However, Republic FC saw off the STLFC onslaught in stoppage time to come away with all 3 points.

With Saint Louis FC drifting further away from the playoff picture, tonight was a big opportunity to pick up crucial points at home before a difficult rivalry game next weekend in Kansas City, but another slow start made it an uphill battle. "You can't start a game that way, simple as that. Giving up 3 goals in the first 15 minutes is suicide.  As well as we played in the second half, we killed ourselves in the first half.", said STLFC Captain Chad Bond after the final whistle. However, new boy Collin Fernandez was upbeat after the loss, saying, – "It was awesome, the atmosphere was fantastic here tonight...  I'm going to do everything I can to be a positive teammate and push guys to be better, the way I want them to push me."  With just 7 games to go and the club currently sitting on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, STLFC will need a big push if they're going to make the postseason in their second year.

Saint Louis FC are back in action on Sunday, August 21st at Sporting Park when they take on Swope Park Rangers in the biggest match of the season to date. The Rangers sit one point ahead of Saint Louis in the final Western Conference playoff spot with a game in hand on FC.  The team returns to World Wide Technology Soccer Park on Saturday, August 27th at 7:30 for their first ever meeting with expansion side San Antonio FC.  For more information go to SaintLouisFC.com or call 636-680-0997.

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