Photo courtesy of Saint Louis FC
Saint Louis FC has just once this season posted back-to-back victories. So with the start of a four-game home stand Saturday night, STLFC knew heading in that it needed to put together a successful string of results to ultimately gain a spot in the USL Playoffs.
STLFC started this upcoming stretch well with a 2-1 victory against the Western Conference’s third-place Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.
“We are coming off a bad streak of games, including some tough losses,” STLFC’s Irvin Herrera said. “We needed this win to gain back the confidence and bring the morale of the club back up.”
Herrera’s goal-scoring clip has been the spark that this club has needed, and he came through with his team-leading 10th goal late in the first half, which ultimately served as the game-winner. Saint Louis certainly could have upped the scoring output against the Switchbacks, but the first-half tallies – James Musa’s being the other goal – were enough to post a big win against a top-tier West squad.
“We changed our formation up a little bit, put two guys up top to make things easier to get balls in behind or between their two back lines,” Herrera said. “It was crucial and we executed that very well today. We just need to keep working on that more so we can create more opportunities for ourselves.”
The win ended STLFC’s four-game winless streak (0-3-1), which included a frustrating 2-0 road loss to Tulsa Roughnecks FC on July 15. That defeat came against a team that Saint Louis had crushed by a combined 12-3 scoring margin in its two previous meetings earlier this year.
“They came out and took responsibility for what happened to us last weekend where we didn’t perform to the level that we expect,” STLFC Head Coach Dale Schilly said. “They took training very seriously this week. We stayed in the heat to prepare us for tonight.”
Following Saturday’s win, Saint Louis finds itself seventh in the West standings at 7-8-5 (26 points) with 10 regular-season matches remaining. That puts STLFC in the postseason picture, but every club ahead has played fewer matches.
The remainder of this home stand is a pivotal stretch with games against OKC Energy FC (next Saturday), the Swope Park Rangers (Aug. 3) and Sacramento Republic FC (Aug. 13) on the docket.
Getting the upper hand against the Switchbacks was a big result for a team that simply has not been able to piece together a bunch of points in succession this year.
“There was a big emphasis put on this game; we felt a lot of pressure,” Chad Bond said. “We’ve been playing well but haven’t gotten the results. We needed this win today. We had a lot of pressure on ourselves, and we delivered.”