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Capacity Crowd Pushes Saint Louis To Victory

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/26/16, 8:47AM EDT


Herrera’s goal lifts 5,513 in attendance as hosts notch another sellout

Photo courtesy Mark Guthrel / Saint Louis FC

FENTON, Mo. – Given the atmosphere at World Wide Technology Soccer Park on Saturday night, it didn’t come as a big surprise when Saint Louis FC sent another sellout crowd of 5,513 fans home happy.

The 1-0 victory against the Portland Timbers 2, which saw Irvin Herrera notch his ninth goal of the season, extended the team’s undefeated stream on home turf to nine games, dating back to last season.

“They mean a lot, it’s a great crowd, it’s an amazing atmosphere we get here at home,” Herrera said. “They are like our 12th man, they motivate us so much to give it all. We need to keep this winning streak at home and we hope the fans continue to come out and support us.”

The crowd on hand was treated to what had all the feeling and intensity of a playoff game, and with good reason. Separated by two points at the start of the night, with Portland sitting one position out of the top eight, the three points at stake would have been massive for either side.

With both teams looking to attack quickly throughout the contest, the game finished with a combined 26 shots, the hosts holding a slim 14-12 advantage. It was Herrera’s finish from the penalty spot in the 58th minute that  proved the difference, after a handball by T2 allowed him the chance to drive a low shot into the right corner past goalkeeper Justin Luthy.

As much attacking soccer as was on display, the performances of both Luthy and his Saint Louis counterpart Ryann Thompson shone through. Luthy made an outstanding save to deny Herrera a second 15 minutes after the opening goal as the El Salvador international broke in on a breakaway, while Thompson – in his first appearances since returning to the side from Jamaica’s Copa America Centenario campaign – was called upon to make four big saves to earn the shutout, and Man of the Match honors.

Photo courtesy Mark Guthrel / Saint Louis FC

“I’m just happy to be back,” Thompson said. “We have a great group of guys here and it’s just a blessing to play with them.”

Now 3-0-3 at home this season, Saint Louis will enter the second half of the season knowing nine of its final 15 games are on home turf. With the continued strong support of a passionate soccer city behind them, the side could have a chance to make a run at the top-four position, with the players grateful for the atmosphere fans led by the St. Louligans bring to each game.

“Even when we are tired and get cramps we hear the sound of the support out there, it gives us an extra wind, and it’s just great,” Thompson said. “I fell in love the first time I came here and I’m still in love.”

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