STLFC Advances in Penalty Shootout to Third Round of US Open Cup
S MOINES, Ia. - Saint Louis FC defeated Des Moines Menace 3-1 in a penalty shootout after finishing the game level at 1-1 to advance to the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Saint Louis FC opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Kyle Greig before Des Moines equalized from the penalty spot in the 39th minute through Nicolas Perea. The rest of the game would be a sloppy affair with a total of 15 cards (12 yellow, three red) which would see the game finish with a penalty shootout in which STLFC Academy goalkeeper Patrick Schulte made three saves to earn the win on his professional debut. Saint Louis FC will host the Third Round game at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park on Wednesday, May 29th at 7:00 p.m. CT against Forward Madison FC (USL League One) who defeated El Paso Locomotive (USL Championship) to advance.
The first half saw Saint Louis FC control the game and create a majority of the chances with the first arriving in the 11th minute as Audi Jepson was found in space by Austin Martz but his shot was scuffed straight to Des Moines goalkeeper Jordan Bell. It would not take long to find the opener, however, as Jepson played his corner kick to the near post where Greig was able to head the ball into the back of the net for his third goal in all competitions this season. Des Moines would then level the score after a contentious handball in the box was called on Sam Fink and Perea stepped up to place his shot beyond Schulte to make the game 1-1 at the halftime break.
The second half saw Saint Louis FC press for the winner and Kadeem Dacres had a chance with a shot from distance that sailed over the crossbar in the 51st minute. The next chance for the away side would come in the 70th minute as Fink was found in the box with a cross from Cicerone but it was saved by Bell. Des Moines would then end regulation time with only ten men as Koray Easterling was sent off for a second yellow card.
Extra time saw more chances fall to Saint Louis FC but they would also be reduced to ten men as Albert Dikwa was sent off for two yellow cards earned within a minute of each other in the 114th minute. Des Moines would then end the contest with only nine men as Gerber Chavez was sent off in added time before the penalty shootout. Des Moines elected to shoot first and Joshua Coan had his kick saved by Schulte before substitute Lewis Hilton converted to give STLFC the advantage. Fellow substitutes Guy Abend and Russell Cicerone both stepped up to convert their spot kicks and Schulte would make another two saves to earn the victory.
"I'm really proud of the players tonight for persevering and performing so well against 15 players," said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. "We experienced some things tonight that I've never seen in 18 years of professional football, but we got the job done which is the main thing."
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