Saint Louis FC lost to Ottawa Fury and could end the weekend four points below the 10th position if Birmingham Legion beats Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday. Saint Louis had a good start and kept the ball in Ottawa’s field in the first few minutes but conceded a goal in the 10th minute and another one in the 34th minute and couldn’t come back despite playing better in the second half.
The initial lineup had some new faces. Matt Bahner. Masta Kacher, Caleb Calvert y Tyler Blackwood started the match while Paris Gee, Collin Fernandez, Kadeem Dacres y Kyle Greig went to the bench. Bradley Kandem Fewo was on the bench after not being available against Indy Eleven. Guy Abend was also on the bench after missing multiple matches due to injury.
Saint Louis had possession in the first few minutes, but things fell apart after an unnecessary foul outside of the box by Sean Reynolds kicked by Carl Haworth for the first goal of the game in the 10th minute. Saint Louis answered with a free kick in the 12th minute by Lewis Hilton but goalkeeper Callum Irving intercepted the shot. Ottawa took control after that and Hadji Barry scored the second goal in the 34th minute. Oscar Umar lost the ball in the midfield and on the ensuing counterattack, Sam Fink’s clearance bounced off Umar and left Barry in scoring position.
At the beginning of the second half, Saint Louis had a scoring chance in the 46th minute after Russel Ciceroni’s shot after a ball recovery near Ottawa’s box went wide. On the next play, Oscar Umar saw his third red card of the season and his second on the last three games played. Despite playing with 10 men, Saint Louis played better and reduced the difference in the 71st minute through a penalty kick by Sam Fink. Saint Louis kept pushing but it didn’t create clear opportunities and Ottawa won 2-1.
Saint Louis has lost its last 8 away matches. It played better with 10 men in the second half, but it was too late to recover from a two-goal deficit caused by errors during the first half. Saint Louis has 11 more matches before the end of the season with 7 at home. Winning the 7 matches at home could put Saint Louis in the postseason but the margin of error keeps getting smaller. The next three matches are at home and with 3 matches within a week, little rest between them and more players available, coach Pulis should rotate players. In the back, the team has lost attacking support with Sean Reynolds playing left back. Paris Gee and Bradley Kandem Fewo are faster and could give a spark to an offense that has struggled recently. It would also be good to give some rest to players like Lewis Hilton, Sam Fink and Phanuel Kavita before the last stretch of matches.
Next match is on Sunday, September 1st against Hartford Athletic, a team in the bottom positions of the table that beat Saint Louis earlier in the season.