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RIVERHOUNDS GAME DAY – Week 3 Preview and Closer Look at St. Louis FC

Soccer Park in Fenton, MO, will play host to its first USL regular season game tonight before an expected sellout crowd

Soccer Park in Fenton, MO, will play host to its first USL regular season game tonight before an expected sellout crowd

Riverhounds (1-1-0, 3 pts) at Saint Louis FC (1-1-0, 3 pts)
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, St. Louis’ Soccer Park

  • Available Live on YouTube
  • Highmark Stadium Pub will be open tonight for Pittsburgh Fans to watch the game
  • Sellout crowd of over 6,000 plus expected at Soccer Park

Hounds Opponent:      St. Louis F.C.
Head Coach:              Dale Schilly
USL 2015 Record:     1-1-0
MLS Affiliation:          Chicago Fire
Most Recent:             Saint Louis FC picked up its first win of this season – and first ever as a USL franchise — by defeating Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-0 at ONEOK Field last Thursday.  Jermie Lynch opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for the 1-0 lead just before halftime. Bryan Gaul doubled STL FC’s advantage in the 55th minute, scoring from the top of the penalty area. Mark Pais made five saves in goal en route to the shutout.
After playing two of their traditional rivals in the first two games at home, the Riverhounds venture into new territory tonight.  They will take on one of the USL’s numerous new expansion teams – St. Louis FC, who have a roster that has a lot of promising young players and a few veterans.   More on St. Louis FC below.
The Riverhounds are looking to bounce back from a tough 2-1 loss to the Rochester Rhinos last Saturday, which followed a convincing season opening 5-2 win over Harrisburg on March 28.
Matt Dallman and Drew Russell remain unavailable as they are still on the mend from injuries. Captain Danny Earls tweaked a hip flexor this week in training. It is not expected that he will miss the game. Earls and defender Anthony Arena have had consecutive games with yellow cards, but they are still able to play under USL rules.
toulouteAfter a sloppy performance by the midfield last week, especially in the first half, we might see head coach Mark Steffens shake up his line up a bit and also tweak his formation. We might see Vini Dantas and Max Touloute, who played well and scored the Riverhounds only goal last week – as good candidates to get starting nods this week.
Canadian left-back Tyler Pasher obtained his international transfer clearance this week and will likely be available for his first action as a Riverhound.   
With only a scattering of players who have already played in USL or other professional ranks, this is an expansion team banking on a crop of good young players and developing a good partnership with Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. They did add some quality players including Kentaro Takada, former Minnesota United FC midfielder, and hometown product, Mike Ambersley, was the first signing in club history after playing the last three seasons in the NASL in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Bryan Gaul, who had played for LA Galaxy and was in Chicago Fire camp earlier this spring, appears to be a pretty dangerous threat at the forward spot.
This is also a franchise that is making its home debut – and with an already established fan group – the St. Louligans – it should be a lively atmosphere at St. Louis’ Soccer Park tonight. The USL web site had a nice feature about how things have come together nicely for the expansion franchise in acity that appears to have a vibrant soccer fan base.
For more of a breakdown of their team – here are some key things to look out for position-by-position…
GOALKEEPER: A big guy at 6’ 4” Mark Pais had a solid college career at both Saint Louis and Tulsa, and played every minute of his senior season for the Hurricane in 2012. He made five saves in picking up his first shutout vs Roughnecks last Thursday.
DEFENSE: Saint Louis has a young group currently, but Richard Dixon brings USL experience where he played for current Riverhounds coach Mark Steffens with the Charlotte Eagles, and James Musa is a current member of the New Zealand national team. A player to watch might be Oskar Gasecki, who left Western Illinois early to sign with Borussia Dortmund II.
MIDFIELD: Takada will bring a veteran presence to the Saint Louis midfield after spending the past five seasons with NASL’s Minnesota United FC, and youngsters Jacob Bushue and Bryan Ciesiulka have ties to STL FC’s MLS partner the Chicago Fire, having both played for the club’s U-23 side. Jamiel Hardware has also arrived after a good season with the Harrisburg City Islanders.
FORWARD: A guy who Riverhounds goalkeeper, Ryan Thompson is familiar with – and fellow Jamaican — Jermie Lynch, scored the first goal in St. Louis’ USL franchise history against Tulsa.   Ambersley has played for Schilly before in 2010 when playing for St. Louis FC when they were competing in the U.S.S.F Division 2 Professional League. Bryan Gaul, formerly of the LA Galaxy, will also aim to provide attacking punch, and spent time training this preseason with the Fire, while former St. Louis Lions forward Jordan Roberts makes the move up from the PDL ranks.
Will not provide extensive game-day coverage like at home games, but will include recaps – and there will still be “What We Learned” and other features in the days following most road games.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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