Photo courtesy of Saint Louis FC
FENTON, Mo. – San Antonio FC’s Sebastien Thuriere and Rafa Castillo tallied twice in the opening half and earned a 2-0 victory against Saint Louis FC on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 5,262 at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in the first meeting between the two expansion sides. Thuriere scored in the 12th minute and Castillo found the back of the net in first-half stoppage time. Goalkeeper Matt Cardone was stellar for San Antonio, even until the final whistle as he turned away a penalty kick by STLFC goal-scoring leader Irvin Herrera in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time. San Antonio has matched its longest winning streak of the season, earning its third consecutive victory as it tries to stay in the mix for a potential postseason spot. SAFC improves to 9-8-7 (34 points) overall and 3-5-4 on the road. Saint Louis drops to 7-10-8 (29 points) overall and 4-3-6 at home.
12’ – SA – Sebastien Thuriere
45’+ – SA – Rafa Castillo
Three Things That Mattered:
1. San Antonio’s two first-half goals showed off some beautiful chip work from the goal-scorers. The opening goal, Sebastien Thuriere lofted the ball wonderfully into the upper left corner, well out of reach of STLFC goalkeeper Ryan Thompson and into the back of the net in the 12th minute. Then in first-half stoppage time, SAFC captain Rafa Castillo followed up similarly with a left-footed chip into the right of the frame just before the halftime whistle to lead the visiting side to a 2-0 lead.
2. As brilliant as San Antonio’s goals were, the end result stemmed from incredibly poor spells of defending by Saint Louis, a side that easily could have had a couple goals in the opening half Thuriere’s goal resulted after a lackadaisical stretch from Chad Bond as STLFC was slowly bringing the ball up-field. Thuriere picked his pocket and did the rest. Then for Castillo’s goal, STLFC was dispossessed at midfield. Richard Dixon got a deflection in there, but Saint Louis could not find the necessary clearance as Castillo immediately shot from outside the box.
3. It was a combination of bad luck and stellar goalkeeping by Matt Cardone that kept Saint Louis off the score sheet for such a long stretch. Cardone made a number of top-notch saves throughout the match – diving stops, foot stops, you name it. And then there were moments such as Vince Ciciarelli’s header off a corner kick that caromed off of the crossbar. The frustration only mounted for the host side as it was trying to work its way back into the game.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Matt Cardone, San Antonio FC – Cardone was a rock in the back as Saint Louis could have – and should have – mustered multiple goals on the evening. His PK save on Irvin Herrera was a fitting conclusion to a masterful night.
Saint Louis FC vs. OKC Energy FC – Aug. 31, 8 p.m. ET, World Wide Technology Soccer Park
San Antonio FC at Swope Park Rangers – Aug. 31, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village