Soccer STL Club, College & HS Soccer Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:33:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The World Cup Starts in St Louis May 30th Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:46:17 +0000 2014_Brazil_poster_11x17_StLThe World Cup begins in 50 days But It Starts Here in St. Louis First!

On May 30th, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ivory Coast will face off at 7:30PM at the Edward Jones Dome as they open their final preparations.

Tickets Are Still Available – Buy yours now!

I’ve got the access code to an exclusive discount valid for all price levels. Use Discount Code: STLOUIS14 when you place your order.

The stage is set for globe’s premier pre-World Cup soccer event May 29th – June 7th

Top nations to play seven crucial matches in 10 days in state-of-the-art stadiums across the United States. Don’t miss out on this unique soccer celebration!

Road to Brazil, organized by Soccer United Marketing, MLS’ commercial arm, will be played at five MLS venues – D.C. United’s RFK Stadium, Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium, Philadelphia Union’s PPL Park, FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium and New York Red Bulls’ Red Bull Arena.

Ten countries will participate in the Road to Brazil series of matches, representing four continents – Europe, Africa, North America and South America. World Cup-bound teams include the following: from Europe, defending champions Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece; representing Africa are the African Cup of Nations champions Nigeria and powerhouse Ivory Coast; and Honduras from CONCACAF. The national teams of Bolivia, El Salvador Israel and Turkey will also participate.

Here’s the entire schedule. To purchase tickets for the games outside St Louis, visit Road to Brazil at Major League Soccer

Road to Brazil
May 29 8:00PM Honduras Turkey Washington D.C. RFK Stadium
May 30 8:30 PM Bosnia Ivory Coast St. Louis MO Edward Jones Dome
June 1 9:00 PM Honduras Israel Houston TX BBVA Compass Stadium
June 3 7:00 PM Greece Nigeria Chester PA PPL Park
June 4 9:00 PM Ivory Coast El Salvador Frisco TX Toyota Stadium
June 6 8:00 PM Greece Bolivia Harrison NJ Red Bull Arena
June 7 4:00 PM Spain El Salvador Landover MD FedExField
]]> 0
Spiridon “Niko” Karidis is Chasing The Dream Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:05:15 +0000 A recent sit-down with CBC sophomore Spiridon “Niko” Karidis to discuss some of the steps he’s taking to become a professional soccer player, a dream of many young men and women here in St Louis. Niko’s father is a former professional soccer player with Panathinaikos FC who moved to St Louis in 1994 post-soccer career to pursue a degree at SIUE and ended up settling here, eventually starting Juventus FC (on the eastside) before joining his former club in establishing the PAO Soccer School and related Academy programs here in St Louis.

Niko’s development began here, following a common path, in this case YMCA/Park District programs. At age 11, with the advent of Juventus FC, Niko continued his development under his father’s tutelage. It has continued with the transition to PAO Soccer Schools where he competes with the U17 Academy team that competes in the Missouri State Cup and select College Showcases.

Expanded opportunities came early when at the age of 10 he first had the opportunity to train in Greece with Panathinaikos FC and their Academy youth. He has since returned for several additional sessions including a four month stay last Summer. There are eight or nine players from the 1998 age group he has trained with the past six years who have been signed to professional contracts at this point.

A pair of additional opportunities have exposed Niko to different systems as he works to develop his game. CBC Dutch Touch, headed by Terry Michler, took a small group of players to Holland over Spring Break this year that allowed Niko to compete against, and under the tutelage, of Dutch coaches.

He also just returned from IMG Academy where he competed in the Florida State Cup. Following the High School season this Fall, Niko is actively considering attending the IMG Prep School Program beginning in January to increase his training level.

Steps that are all targeted to joining the professional ranks. Niko recently got his drivers license and as you can see in the photo below, his ride is as unique as his skills. Check out the audio interview link below to hear more directly from Niko.

I reached out to Terry Michler at CBC to get some feedback on his player and one of the captains of the Cadets this Fall.

Niko has a very mature approach to the game and to his development. He has high aspirations and matching ambition and ability to reach his goals. Niko has previous experiences that have helped him to better understand the process of player development and advancement and he has learned from each if those opportunities. Niko has some nice choices to make concerning his future in soccer. He is also a great kid who you want to see succeed.

You can follow Niko at @Niko_lodeon

You can follow PAO Soccer School on Twitter at @PAOsoccerschool or visit their website at

Finally, here’s a photo of Niko with his father Nicholas from February, when Niko was enroute to Florida to compete with an IMG squad in a College Showcase at the facility.

]]> 0
How Sporting KC Beat Montreal Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:32:34 +0000
2013-12-07 MLS Cup

Dom Dwyer battles Kyle Beckerman for ball in MSL Cup 2013 at Sporting Park

There’s a ton of parity in MLS, but you wouldn’t have known it watching Saturday night’s Sporting Kansas City – Montreal Impact game. The defending champions took on one of the league’s worst teams and the result was an unsurprising 4-0 victory for SKC. But it could have been a much different game if Marco Di Vaio had buried one of his two open looks in the first half and if Sporting hadn’t made a key halftime adjustment.

Montreal Sits Deep, Looks to Counter

Montreal’s game plan was obvious from the minute the lineups came out. Frank Klopas changed from last week’s 4-1-3-2 to a much more defensive-minded 4-4-1-1 and opted to start Collen Warner, a natural holding midfielder, on the wing instead of the more offensive-minded Andres Romero. The Impact sat 10 behind the ball, set the line of confrontation deep inside its own half and looked to draw Sporting in before attempting to spring Marco Di Vaio behind Kansas City’s high line.

It worked in the first half. Sporting patiently worked the ball from side to side but couldn’t break down Montreal’s disciplined defense. The Impact looked dangerous on the counter and should have taken the lead in the 14th minute, but Aurelien Collin’s goal line clearance kept the game scoreless. The second half was a different story after Justin Mapp came off at halftime and Sporting made one key adjustment.
Lawrence Olum’s Positioning

Speaking of that key adjustment; Peter Vermes addressed Montreal’s counterattack after the game:

“It wasn’t the fact we were too high up the field,” he said. “The problem was Felipe was the one who was actually finding the space and every time they won the ball they were releasing it to him. That’s the change we made at halftime, the fact that we closed that down.”

Closing down Felipe was directly related to Olum’s positioning in the second half vs. the first half. Vermes again:

“The second half he [Olum] had a very good game because he was a lot more disciplined. Sometimes when your team has the ball a lot you can get a little bit excited and start getting out of your position. He did a little bit of that in the first half. I thought that was causing us a little problem with the counter attack.”

SKC-MTL 4-19 Picture 1

Olum caught high

With Montreal sitting so deep, Olum was getting farther forward in the first half than we’re used to seeing from Sporting’s d-mid position. SKC loves to push its outside backs high in possession meaning it’s crucial for the defensive mid to stay deep and play almost as a third center back at times. If he gets too high it leaves huge gaps on the counter, which is exactly what happened on Montreal’s best chance of the night.

This is from the sequence right before Montreal’s chance on the counter. Note how high and shaded to the right Olum is (above).

SKC-MTL 4-19 Picture 2

Sinovic caught up field

Benny Feilhaber plays the ball into Graham Zusi who is immediately closed down by three Impact defenders and loses possession. Seth Sinovic is caught high up the field and has no chance at putting pressure on Justin Mapp.

Mapp plays a perfect ball to beat Besler and release Felipe into space. That barely-visible figure above the score box is Olum, caught high up the pitch. With Besler beaten and Olum out of the play, Felipe and Di Vaio get a 2-on-1 with Collin.

SKC-MTL 4-19 Picture 3

Felipe break away

Fortunately for SKC, Eric Kronberg narrows the angle to force a pass and Collin is well positioned to clear the ball off the line. Give Olum credit for hustling back and possibly bothering Di Vaio on the shot, but that desperation defending never happens if he’s well positioned in the first place.

Dom Dwyer’s Big Night

Whenever Dwyer plays you know exactly what you’re getting. He makes runs into the channels to pull defenders out of position and open space for other players. He holds the ball up well. He wins a ton of fouls. And even if you can’t count on him to finish every chance, he’s going to get into goal-scoring positions every game because of his smart runs.

Against Montreal Dwyer was a beast. He won nine fouls, all in Montreal’s half and had a hand in three of the four goals. On Collin’s strike from outside the box, Dwyer fights off three Montreal defenders in the box to keep the ball alive and prevent a clearance. On the third goal (Dwyer’s first of the night) he wins the initial free kick and then makes a smart, well-timed run into the box to finish off Jacob Peterson’s cross. The fourth goal is equally impressive as Dwyer somehow gets in-between Montreal’s center backs and manages to direct a header on target while falling backward.

Vermes’ called Dwyer “A pain in the ass for their defenders” after the game. Around the 70th minute I was ready to write about Dwyer’s excellent performance despite once again failing to score. Then he went and bagged a brace in 12 minutes to turn a comfortable win into a blowout. I’ll say in conclusion: Claudio Bieler should get used to the bench if Dwyer keeps playing this well.

]]> 0
Gabe Kash Joins U15 BNT for Tournament Delle Nazioni Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:47:48 +0000 U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team head coach Hugo Perez has named an 18-player roster for the upcoming Tournament Delle Nazioni in Gradisca d’Isonzo, Italy, that runs from April 25-May 1.

The U.S., which will play a friendly match against a to-be-determined opponent on April 23, is in Group C and opens tournament play against Slovenia on Friday, April 25. The team then plays Mexico on Saturday before concluding group play against China PR on Sunday.

The tournament fields two other four-team groups consisting of Brazil, Israel, Italy and Zambia in Group A, and Azerbaijan, Chile, Croatia and Japan in Group B. The three group winners and best second-placed team of the three groups advance to the tournament semifinals where the Group A winner meets the Group B winner, and the Group C winner faces the best second-placed qualifier on April 29. The tournament final will be played on May 1.

The roster is comprised of a familiar group of players as 14 of the 18 have participated in both the U-15 BNT’s trip to the United Arab Emirates in January and its domestic training camp in Carson, Calif., in March. Club Tijuana defender Angel Uribe is the only player on the roster not to have taken part in either 2014 event; however, he did participate in the U-15 BNT’s first camp of the current cycle back in October of 2013.

NOTE – Gabe was invited to the initial camp but was unable to attend when he broke his leg in an Academy game with SLSG Metro. He did attend the most recent camp held March 22-30. He’s obviously recovered!

Twelve of the players on the roster are currently registered with U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs, while a further two, Jose Alfaro Jr. (Monarcas Morelia) and Kyle Gruno (Leicester City) formerly played with Development Academy teams.

Additionally, former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tony Meola will accompany the U-15 BNT to Italy to serve as the team’s Goalkeeper Coach. The 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee previously served in a similar capacity for the team’s March training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center.

April 23 – U-15 BNT vs. TBD
April 25; 11:30 a.m. ET – U-15 BNT vs. Slovenia; Bilje, Slovenia
April 26; 11:30 a.m. ET – U-15 BNT vs. Mexico; Vipolze, Slovenia
April 27; 11:30 a.m. ET – U-15 BNT vs. China PR; Vipolze, Slovenia
April 29 – Tournament Delle Nazioni Semifinals
May 1 – Tournament Delle Nazioni Final

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Erik Lopez (LA Galaxy; Westminster, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Jose Alfaro, Jr. (Monarcas Morelia; West Chicago, Ill.), McKay Eves (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Kyle Gruno (Leicester City; Saddle River, N.J.), Gabe Kash (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro; Marshall, Ill.), Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana; Tijuana, Mexico), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Raul Aguilera, Jr. (Orlando City; Sanford, Fla.), Jose Carranza (D.C. United; Manassas, Va.), Jonathan Gonzalez (Monterrey; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Juan Pablo Torres (Georgia United; Lilburn, Ga.)
FORWARDS (6): Lucas Del Rosario (Capital Area RailHawks Academy; Durham, N.C.), Jeanpaul Marin (New York Red Bulls; Rego Park, N.Y.), Leonardo Marquez (Odyssey South; Visalia, Calif.), Marty Raygoza (FC Golden State; South El Monte, Calif.) Adolfo Trujillo (De Anza Force; Livermore, Calif.), Hanif Wright (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)

]]> 0
Tony DiCicco Free Clinic April 23rd in St Peters Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:31:11 +0000 Missouri Rush Soccer Club is bringing former USWNT Head Coach Tony DiCicco to St Charles on Wednesday April 23rd for a FREE Player and Coaches Clinic.

Players aged 11-16 will have a unique opportunity to be personally coached by the former US Women’s Nationation Team Coach Tony DiCicco. Coaches will be able to observe and take away practices that Coach DiCicco has used with his National Team players.

DiCicco Players Clinic
Wednesday April 23rd
Goalkeepers – 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Field Players – 6:45 to 7:45 pm
Woodlands Park, St Peters MO

Download the Dicicco Camp Flyer

This summer Missouri Rush will host a week of SOCCERPLUS Day Camps for Goalkeepers, Field Players and Teams at Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex the week of July 21st. Come out this Wednesday and discover the possibilities available with Tony DiCicco and his SOCCERPLUS Camps.

]]> 0
Missouri High School Girls Soccer Coaches Poll #2 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:17:15 +0000
Hannah Brobst of Visitation skips past the defender en route to the goal

Hannah Brobst of Visitation skips past the defender en route to the goal

The Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association (MSHSSCA) have released their second regular season poll of the season. Let’s take a look at the changes…

Girls Soccer Poll #2 17-Apr-2014

When Blue Valley Northwest grabbed the St Louis Soccer Classic title that included a 4-0 shutout of the St Joe Angel’s, just day’s after BVNW lost in PK’s to St Teresa who went on to win the MO-KAN Challenge. A good early head-to-head comparison. There are at least two coaches with faith in the Angel’s learning abilities and the tight State semifinal match the two teams played last year.

Points fall pretty rapidly after #4 Nixa but the Top 5 otherwise remain the same except for the switch at the top. Lee’s Summit North appears for the first time this season in the #6 spot while Cor Jesu falls off the list. Kirkwood also introduces themselves and look at that, they’re tied for #10 with Webster Groves. That’s all five members of Class 3 District 7 ranked in the Top 10.

Class 3
Rank Team Record Points
1 St. Teresa's Academy (8) 5-0-0 97
2 St. Joseph's (2) 5-0-0 96
3 Nerinx Hall 5-0-1 84
4 Nixa 7-1-1 75
5 Jefferson City 8-1-1 51
6 Lee's Summit North 4-3-2 46
7 Ursuline 3-0-1 37
8 Park Hill (1) 10-2-1 31
9 Glendale 8-1-0 25
10 Kirkwood 5-1-1 16
10 Webster Groves 7-2 16
Others: Camdenton 11, Jackson 9, Eureka 3, Rockwood Summit 2, Seckman 1.

Visitation has solidified their position at the top of Class 2. After beating #2 St Dominic 2-1 in late March, it’s likely we’ll see the two again in the Quarterfinals as has been the case ?????. Kearney jumps to #3 with several votes for the top spot after reaching the Final of the Heartland Classic last weekend, only to fall to large school St Thomas Aquinas in the final.

Going forward, after seeing three games already I don’t see Incarnate Word continuing their District win streak. A lack of consistent scoring will make it hard to get past MICDS I think, with Ladue hanging around hoping to earn their first District title with a team that has a nice mix of players.

In Central Missouri, District 10 will pit Helias, Rolla and Bolivar in the chase for hardware. The winner will face a strong Union team in Sectionals. Union will remember the OT loss to Helias last year and that hunger may be the primary difference.

Class 2
Rank Team Record Points
1 Visitation (10) 9-1 145
2 St. Dominic (1) 7-2 122
3 Kearney (3) 10-1-1 118
4 Incarnate Word 3-4-1 79
5 Rolla 9-2 66
5 Smithville 9-2 66
7 Helias 7-5 49
8 Union 10-2 38
9 St. Charles West 7-1 28
10 Ladue 10-1 25
10 MICDS 5-3 25
Others: Bolivar 6, Notre Dame de Sion 4, Cape Notre Dame 4, Windsor 4.

Defending champions Duchesne move to the top spot in the polls as St Pius X (Festus) settle into the #2 spot. These two appear to be the class of the small school programs and they could reprise their State Final this season. I’ll have to see what I can find out about the KC area teams and their opportunities come playoffs.

Class 1
Rank Team Record Points
1 Duchesne (6) 7-3 96
2 St. Pius (Festus) (3) 7-2 88
3 Trinity Catholic (1) 6-0 69
4 Springfield Catholic 7-4 68
5 St. Pius (KC) 7-0-1 51
6 Saxony Lutheran 6-3 42
7 Kennedy 6-3 33
8 Maryville 5-0 32
9 Barstow 3-0-2 25
10 Lutheran SC 6-3 13
Others: Principia 9, Bishop LeBlond 5, O'Hara 5, Osage 5, St. Vincent 3, Dixon 3, Sacred Heart 2, Boonville 1, Lutheran KC 1.
]]> 0
Ado Jahić Competes With Bosnia U17 National Team Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:18:49 +0000

Ado Jahic, on left, with Bosnia-Herzegovina teammates at UEFA Qualifying in Scotland

Ado Jahic of Mehlville and the Scott Gallagher Missouri Academy team, recently represented the U17 Bosnian national team in the UEFA U17 Euro 2014 Elite Round. That meant a trip to Scotland to participate in the Final Group Stages of the UEFA U17 Qualifying in late March.

Scotland advanced from the Group to the Championship with Bosnia and Herzegovina finishing second, building on a 1-0 win against Romania in their second game with a 3-0 victory over Belgium, in which Amer Gojak notched his second and third Group 6 goals. Jahić came on as a substitute in the 78th minute of the 3-0 win over Belgium. He was an unused substitute in the 1-0 win over Romania and the 0-2 loss to Scotland.

Upon his return, Chicago-based, a website focused on covering Bosnian sports (in English) worldwide, interviewed Ado about the opportunity and his future career goals. A very good read for those interested in tracking local talent such as Ado. You can follow them on Twitter @BH_Dragons

INTERVIEW with ADO JAHIC – St. Louis & U17 Bosnian NT Talent

We sat down today with young St. Louis talent 16 year-old Ado Jahic to talk about his career, future, and more. He recently represented the U17 Bosnian national team in the UEFA U17 Euro 2014 Elite Round.

First of all, congratulations on being selected to represent the U17 Bosnian national team last month during the Elite Round of the U17 Euro 2014 tournament. What was your initial reaction when you earned the call-up and what is it like representing Bosnia-Herzegovina?

“Thank you, honestly my first reaction when my dad told me about the call-up was I thought I was dreaming, because ever since I started kicking the ball around, it was my dream, like every Bosnian player’s dream, to put on the Bosnian national team jersey and represent Bosnia. What an experience. I will never forget it, and I hope for many more call-ups.”

As noted, you can read more at the website.

]]> 1
Footprints Matches April 22nd for Cardinal Glennon Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:55:00 +0000 Footprints Soccer FundraiserFOOTPRINTS FUNDRAISER

Cor Jesu, Rosati-Kain, St. Dominic and Ursuline are raising money for the Footprint’s Program at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. Footprint’s provides financial assistance for families with seriously and terminally ill children.

At 4 p.m. on April 22, Cor Jesu will host Rosati-Kain. Each player on both teams will wear special jerseys from Soccer Master that they will purchase for $15. Jerseys for fans will be available for purchase through the school as well for $15. There will be a small admission charge to the game and a concession stand will be available to help raise money, which will also be donated to Footprints.

Marsha Koeller wristband

Molly Ream wears a Marsha Koeller wristband, 2013

Ursuline will host St. Dominic in their game at the same time, at 4 p.m. on April 22. Fans will also be able to support Footprints via jersey purchases, game admission and concessions. There will also be a raffle.

Everyone has a story for why they are involved in this effort. As I understand it, for Coach Beekman of Ursuline it is a sibling. For Coach Koeller at St Dominic, well, here’s his story

…when I was asked three years ago to join in this effort by then IWA coach Annie Beekman I did not hesitate to answer her request with an emphatic “Yes!”. All I heard was Cardinal Glennon and the title “Footprints” and I was sold! The story below explains my reason….


As my photo of Molly Ream above shows, the Crusader girls are still wearing armbands to this day remembering Marsha Koeller. Her daughters Madeline (#12) and Mary (#2) will be on the pitch Monday.

Both games are followed by JV games as well…..Ursuline is white , St Dominic are navy….. The schools are asking for a $1 donation at the door for every fan to get the youngsters involved from area grade schools!

]]> 0
FC Kansas City Open NWSL Season Sat, 12 Apr 2014 16:00:00 +0000
2014-03-22 NWSL Exhibition match at St Louis Soccer Park

2014-03-22 FC Kansas City in NWSL Exhibition match at St Louis Soccer Park

Saturday will mark the second consecutive year the Blues have opened the season at home after playing in the inaugural NWSL match against Portland Thorns FC last year. It will be FC Kansas City’s first game at their new home stadium at the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Game Time: Saturday April 12, 7:00 pm
See: Live Stream via FC KC YouTube Channel
Schedule: Soccer on TV calendar

Lauren Holiday will be looking to follow up on last year’s performance that saw her lead the league in both goals (12) and assists (9). The UCLA-product set an NWSL record with a goal or an assist in 10 consecutive games and was overwhelming voted the league’s inaugural Most Valuable Player.

Holiday wasn’t the only Blues player honored at the end of last season.

In fact, FC Kansas City pulled off a clean sweep of the 2013 NWSL Season awards – with midfielder Erika Tymrak taking Rookie of the Year, Nicole Barnhart named Goal keeper of the Year, Becky Sauerbrunn claiming Defender of the Year, Vlatko Andonovski earning Coach of the Year and Holiday honored as both MVP and the 2013 NWSL Golden Boot winner.

The matchup with Sky Blue FC features two of the four playoff teams from last season and five players from the 2013 NWSL Best XI. In addition to Holiday, Barnhart and Sauerbrunn, FCKC defender Leigh Ann Robinson and SBFC defender Rampone expected to take the field Saturday night.

Defender and NWSL Second XI honoree Caitlin Foord also returns for Sky Blue FC as well as Mexico

international Monica Ocampo, the team’s leading scorer last season, and Canada international Sophie Schmidt. Midfielder and U.S. international Kelley O’Hara is also expected to play a major role for SBFC as the team pushes for back-to-back playoff appearances.

Sky Blue FC will host defending champions Portland Thorns FC at Yurcak Field in their home opener on April 19. SBFC opens the season with four of their first six games at home.

FC Kansas City play four of their first six games on the road, including trips to play the Washington Spirit and the Thorns FC before returning home to face the Chicago Red Stars in a midweek game on April 30.

ALL NWSL GAMES will be broadcast live on YouTube this season. The NWSL has also established improved live streaming production standards for the 2014 season, which will improve the quality of the league’s live streams. All games will be streamed in High Definition with a minimum of three cameras with experienced camera operators to provide better images of the action along with a standardized league-wide graphics package.

Live games will once again be available for free with archived games available shortly after each game’s completion. In addition, the NWSL will provide a highlights package of each game for the first time this season on the league’s YouTube channel.

YouTube Live will once again provide fans with features during live games including DVR, chat, HD, and social media interactivity. Fans are encouraged to subscribe for free to the league and team-specific YouTube channels. Please visit for links to each NWSL account.

]]> 0
Visitation Soccer Show Their Class Sat, 12 Apr 2014 14:28:32 +0000
Abbie Grimes holds off defender in front of Viz bench

Abbie Grimes holds off defender in front of Viz bench

The Vivette’s are bringing back memories of their Championship teams in 2010 and 2011 with the quality they showed Friday in their 3-2 win over Webster Groves. A dominant first half that saw the Statesmen go without a shot on goal was enhanced by a pair of goals, both coming from the run of play.

Viz showed patience and aggressiveness in equal part as they worked to first deny Webster, focused as all teams have been since St Joe’s dominating District win last year, by concentrating on limiting Maddy Pokorny’s opportunities. That was made easier with her initial role as a forward where Viz’s suffocating defense required Pokorny to seek out long balls sent forward with little purpose. Later, as she was moved back into the midfield, by attention from Liz Hopkins and Abby O’Keefe who set the tempo of the Vivette’s efforts on the day.

Visitation has multiple attacking options, the difference between a Top 5 team and everyone else. With senior Abby Grimes paired with wunderkind Kayleigh Stahlschmidt, a freshman, up top there is a yin-yang element that keeps defenses off balance. The first goal came from Stahlschmidt in the 15th when she put her shot past Charlotte Kennedy with a low hard blast to the near post. The second goal was scored by Sarah Price, who buried a cross from Grimes in the 25th.

Price, with Hannah Brobst and Amalia Tettambel, are wide midfielders who work extremely hard on both sides of the ball. Price has stood out for me in the two games I’ve seen in her attacking skills. In recent years there has been plenty of attention at the highest levels on wide players who play on their weak side, in this case the left, but then create havoc with their runs into the middle that offer opportunities to score with their stronger foot (Bale & Robben for example). Watch Sarah as she makes those runs this season. It disrupts defenses and she’s got the shot that makes her dangerous anywhere inside 25 yards.

The Statesmen seem to be learning what it means to play with a target on your back. After their win over Nerinx in District semifinals last year and the respect McVey showed for Pokorny in St Joe’s District win, Webster is no longer the underdog nor a surprise to anyone. They did not handle the pressure well at all in the first half. In the second, a system change that brought Pokorny into central midfield, the appropriate place for her in my opinion, along with a commitment to keep the ball on the ground showed they can move the ball as a unit when they try.

An attack that began with four touches in the back corner led to freshman Jacqueline Baetz breaking down the right touchline. Game on as the ball eventually found Pokorny in the box where her shot found the net four minutes into the half, after deflecting off a Viz defender. Webster moved the ball well with this new configuration, featuring Jr Cami Unger partnering with Pokorny and Peyton Beck moving up to get numbers in the midfield.

That narrow emphasis was exploited later by the Vivette’s however. It was the senior Grimes who made the difference as she moved wide to provide an outlet and used her skills to win important 1v1 games in the offensive end. When her initial shot was saved in the 60th Webster’s attempt at a clearance fell to O’Keefe 25 yards out and her shot just eluded Kennedy as it flew in under the crossbar.

O’Keefe’s goal extended the Viz advantage to 3-1 and decided the game as Webster was unable to muster another strong attacking opportunity until the final minute when a defensive mistake, the last defender stepped on the ball and fell, allowing sophomore Alex Harper to break in alone on on kat Zaber. Harper finished well.

]]> 0