Club Atletico Reserves drop three points

by Atletico News

photo credit @YBrammer Will Bramlett

Club Atletico Reserves did not come away with three points in the first round of the MLSC Fall Super Cup last night against a veteran Maritsa squad consisting of many St. Louis Ambush professional players.  The game was a glimpse into the future of Club Atletico's developmental plan.  On the 20 man roster, less than 25% represented the official NPSL squad while the rest of the 75% consisted of new and fresh players gaining experience and trying to show the staff why they should be considered a viable 2021 NPSL Club Atletico player.  Club Atletico is testing the waters this fall with a chance to see if the UPSL could become a viable option for the Club Atletico reserve squad in the near future.  Coach Ricardo Garza shared some points on why he and his family run organization are considering this option.

"I originally jumped into the NPSL team's vision of up and coming college age players as the core group to develop.  The purpose was to give minutes to young, 18-22 year olds against teams with an average age of 25 in the NPSL.  The only way a youth player can develop is to be a part of a level higher than themselves.  But, when our focus for the NPSL team is to be collegiate age, this takes away spots from older players to represent Club Atletico.  The Minor League Soccer Championships tournament format is perfect to test the waters this fall with something we have never attempted to do before.  The Fall Super cup consist of many UPSL teams which will give us an idea of what we might consider in the future with a youthful reserve squad.  With the majority of our NPSL team away in college right now, we have opened the door to players who otherwise wouldn't get a chance.  The reserve idea is perfect for us to test the waters of the UPSL level along with the ability to see what talent besides collegiate players could St. Louis produce.  I believe last night showed along with Maritsa's roster, both teams showcased good players on the field to give the fans a great show.  It was unfortunate the scoring happened the way it did and in the second half so quickly, because I felt the level of intensity dropped with one team sitting back on a good lead and the other team trying to break them down for 35 minutes." - Coach Ricardo Garza

Club Atletico opened the roster up to 30 potential players interested to represent them this fall as reserves and also to get meaningful minutes in games and training sessions to showcase themselves in front of the staff for six-eight weeks.

"The key part of the success of a future reserve squad will be to blend Club Atletico NPSL pool players who need more minutes along with older veteran players to pass on their experience.  The current tournament team of 28 players consist of seven 2019 NPSL rostered players.  Two more players, Brayan Lopez and Quayyum Murana, represented Club Atletico in the inaugural season in 2018.  The remaining 19 players are all new players to the organization which is an exciting time for us right now." - Coach Ricardo Garza

Gameday Roster vs Martisa FC

U20: Alfredo Lopez, Ethan Martinez, Ivo Pacheco

U21: Noah Henry, George Agai

U22: Quayyum Murana, Kevin Teka

U23: Anthony Brown, Preston Meyer, Nedin Kudic

U24: Buseese Lwanga, Brayan Lopez

25-26: Spence Jean Baptiste, Wilfried Nyamsi, Robert Jones

27+: Wil Linder, Josh Ward, Liam Collins, Andres Acosta, Trent Dardick, 

photo credit @YBrammer Will Bramlett

Club Atletico presented a good product on the field last night in the first game of the MLSC tournament considering their opponent.  Maritsa FC have been one of the best men's teams in the St. Louis region for almost a decade.  Their owner has always been very dedicated to his team and built a great tradition.  Maritsa is also one of the top teams in the UPSL representing a rich St. Louis soccer community.  The St. Louis Ambush have been a great relationship to mix their professional players into an already top level Maritsa men's team.  The mixture of players make them a force to be reckoned with. This is why Club Atletico is coming away with such a positive outlook at the start of this tournament.  Club Atletico gave up two bizarre scoring chances with two separate goalkeepers getting chipped from 30-40 yards out.  Besides those two goals the first half was a great glimpse of a reserve squad competing at such a level as Maritsa FC and at times a much higher level of quality.  Club Atletico controlled Maritsa's build up boldly and disciplined to prevent Maritsa from controlling the ball in their own half.  Club Atletico lacked scoring chances in the first half but did control most of the possession and entered the halftime with most of the momentum.  The second half was a different story giving up two early goals within 10 minutes of the whistle.  Club Atletico found themselves down 3-0 with about 35 minutes to go in the game.  Here are comments from Coach Ricardo Garza.

"At halftime I was very pleased with the group and how collectively they all played.  We nearly got the whole roster to play in the first half gaining experience before halftime.  The balance of no re-entry and trying to maximize developmental experience is always a struggle but going down 3-0 puts a lot of pressure and added passion to the game in the moment. This is a hard task, to think of the next game who I have available and who I don't, and who will gain minutes in the next game while still trying to get our team back in the current game.  It is hard as a coach to keep on the plan to rotate as many players into the game and take minutes away from players who are helping so much, but I have to stay true to the developmental plan regardless of the outcome of the game in order to build a true developmental system.  For me personally these games give me an opportunity to identify players to represent our full NPSL team in the summer and the results are meaningless to me to decide each players future with us.  I don't care if we win or lose the match as long as I can see these reserve players mix with some of our NPSL veteran guys and play well against quality teams.  I take nothing away from Martisa for getting the win against our team, I just don't look at the game as a measurement of our players success.  I do however feel our reserve team should of come away with a tie at worst but based on the performance I felt both teams were fairly even.  I would like to see our official NPSL summer team in a match against Martisa when we are at full strength." - Coach Ricardo Garza

Club Atletico substituted several players who applied more pressure to Maritsa who held back in a deep block. The constant pressure did result in a goal by Anthony Brown to bring the score to 3-1.  Here is Anthony's comments about the game.

"Felt amazing to be back and playing and scoring a goal.  Thought we executed our game plan well. Very unfortunate that we gave up three goals like we did.  Especially when we controlled a lot of the game.  All we can do is build from last nights performance and keep moving forward.  This Saturday's game is a must win and we will execute."-Anthony Brown

Club Atletico will swap out 7-9 players for new players from the 28 man tournament roster vs Springfield FC on Saturday.