Last night, fourth place Saint Louis FC took on the first place Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at WWT Soccer Park. This, of course, was a make-up game for the previous one that had been cancelled due to lightning. While fitting the make-up game in meant even more fixture congestion, it gave us a couple extra weeks to find our feet, as well as our scoring touch.
St. Louis faced off against the best in the west and looked the better team. The team played some of the best soccer of the season--all for except about 10 minutes that is. From about the 20th to the 30th minute, Vancouver took control of the game and really pressured our defense. Just one moment of switching off defensively, and not closing down the man with the ball, let them take the lead in the 23rd minute with a shot outside the box.
After halftime, we took control again and were putting constant pressure on the Vancouver defense. Then, in the 62nd minute Jamiel Hardware refused to give up on a play and managed to finally get one into the back of the Vancouver net unassisted.
As the Louligans began chanting “We want three points!” it was clear that we were the team with the impetus. The game was there to be had and, with just a little something extra, we surely could have come away with the win.
Unfortunately, we watched as the time ticked away and our chance to win began to slip. Yet, no one was even up warming up. It wasn’t until the 80th minute that we saw our first sub as Bushue came in for Ambersley. While Ambo was needing a break, Bushue was not the progressive, attacking sub you put in for a winning goal. This looked like perhaps Schilly was willing to settle for the tie--which seems counterintuitive to what was actually happening on the field. It seemed that bringing on the right attacking player could unlock their defense once again. Another six minutes went by before Conner came on for Barklage, and it wasn’t until the 88th minute that we saw Roberts come into the game for Dixon. Roberts made an instant impact, being able to push the attack and really test the Vancouver defense.
Before the game if you had said we would get a point against the first place team, that wouldn’t have been a bad result. But given the nature of the game, it’s one that we not only could have won, but that we should have won. -TR
Photo by Will Bramlett http://www.workinthemorning.com