AC St. Louis ends NSC Minnesota Stars' Open Cup Dreams
BLAINE, Minn. (June 22, 2010) - On a night where shots were at a premium, a defensive let down cost the NSC Minnesota Stars their place in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Mike Ambersley scored with a stunning volley in the 35th minute, and AC St. Louis held on for a 1-0 victory despite the Stars' game-long dominance in possession.
Stars midfielder Daniel Wasson said the team was frustrated not to create more scoring opportunities against an opponent he knew would take very few chances.
"They drove 10 hours today, and it was apparent they were going to sit in, and when they got the goal, we knew they were going to sit back even more," Wasson said. "It's hard to break down 10 men. There's so little space to work with, and we weren't creative enough."
Ambersley's slightly deflected shot was one of only three AC St. Louis managed to put on goal, and it came against the run of play. The Stars spent the opening 30 minutes keeping the ball away from St. Louis, but the home side struggled to create chances. Melvin Tarley had the best chance of the first half hour after Kevin Friedland crossed to him at the near post, but Tarley misdirected his header, and St. Louis cleared its defensive zone.
That was the story of the night for the Stars, and in the 34th minute, a quick breakout for St. Louis led to the game's only goal. St. Louis midfielder Gauchinho led a quick counterattack, and his 30-yard shot took a deflection and went out off the crossbar. From the ensuing corner kick, AC St. Louis had the lead.
Luke Kreamalmeyer spotted Ambersley standing unmarked at the top of the penalty area. His cross was inch-perfect, and Ambersley drove it goalward with his right foot. The shot took a slight deflection, wrong-footing Stars goalkeeper Joe Warren.
Five minutes later, Ambersley nearly doubled St. Louis' lead. On another counterattack, the Stars' defense gave him too much space to run, but he drove his right-footed shot over the bar.
It was all Stars from that point forward, and they created a flurry of chances inside the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Defender Andres Arango made a near post run to meet a Wasson corner kick in the 57th minute, but St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty dove to his left to catch Arango's downward header. A minute later, Dufty made his best save of the night, barely kicking away Ely Allen's low shot. After turning his marker at the top of the penalty box, Brian Cvilikas beat Dufty in the 60th minute, but his shot went just inches wide of the far post.
With Cvilikas' miss, the flurry ended, and the Stars became increasingly frustrated moving forward, launching long balls to the top of the penalty area. With five minutes remaining, midfielder Geison Moura replaced Kentaro Takada and nearly changed the game with his first touch. Allen headed down Neil Hlavaty's corner kick, and with the ball at his feet just four yards from goal, Moura shot just over the crossbar as Dufty and two St. Louis defenders closed in on him.
With the win, AC St. Louis progresses to the third round of the US Open Cup. 2009 Major League Soccer finalist the Los Angeles Galaxy will host the June 29 match at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Stars next match is Saturday at 6 p.m. EDT at Crystal Palace Baltimore.
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U.S. Soccer Federation D-2 Stories from June 22, 2010
- Timbers Advance to Face MLS' Seattle in U.S. Open Cup - Portland Timbers
- AC St. Louis ends NSC Minnesota Stars' Open Cup Dreams - Minnesota United FC
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- AC St. Louis Defeat Minnesota 1-0 in U.S. Open Cup - AC St. Louis
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