The St. Louis Youth Soccer Association (SLYSA) opened it’s 2017 Spring League Soccer season with 985 teams registered for Spring season. It is the largest league ever for SLYSA and the numbers make it one of the largest youth competitive soccer league in the country. SLYSA has everything from individual teams to clubs with around 100 teams signed up to play. There will be 4517 games played during the season and 295 of them this weekend.
I was on hand opening day (Saturday) at SportPort International where I caught a pair of 2003 Boys matches.
2003 Boys – SLSG Liverpool v Missouri Rush United (photo gallery)
The Liverpool boys scored a goal in each half to come back from an 0-1 deficit and win their opener 2-1 against Rush. The tying goal was created by this lad (Boston Tinsley) as he won a physical battle and got to the endline before slipping the ball past a pair of defenders for a simple tap-in by Nicholas Dulle. A tight battle that was only decided by a goal in the final two minutes, this time scored by the earlier provider (Boston Tinsley) from a seemingly impossible angle from the right side. He was aided by Charles Martin (#9) who showed intelligence and touch on the right side of the midfield and by goalkeeper Matthew Streicher who made several key plays in the second half to keep the game close while frustrating Rush.
Missing today was much play out of the back but kudos to the two coaches who limited their sideline ‘coaching’.
2003 Boys – Gateway Rush vs Sporting JBM Vest (photo gallery)
The Sporting boys earned a 3-0 shutout victory Saturday as the game opened up in the second half. The lead stood at 1-0 at halftime after an early PK opportunity was converted but things tightened up as both teams worked to keep the ball on the ground.
I believe it was Matthew Graham that got the second half started well for Sporting, scoring from the right side of the box. Graham is a tricky winger that worked on both the left and right during the match and could be counted on to advance the ball with his passing and dribbling. Carter Sanderson covered a lot of ground in the center of the pitch, providing service and playing defense, he was also called on to take the PK that was the game-winner. Goalkeeper Mason Matoushek did his part with a couple of key saves on breakaways by Gateway to keep the shutout. A stop and courageous second effort diving at feet to collect a loose ball and later and reaction save, sticking out a large hand and pushing a shot wide.
Gateway came in with a plan that called for finding their tall forward but he was effectively double-teamed as he reached the box. There was good ball movement but it broke down in the final third. A strong central defender showed well, anticipating the action and doing a good job of bringing the ball out rather than simply clearing it.
No play dates will be April 14-16, 2017 (Easter) & May 26-29, 2017 (Memorial Day)