PREVIEW: CASTL battles Little Rock

by Peyton Rives

ST. LOUIS – After Sunday’s draw against FC Wichita, Club Atletico Saint Louis takes the field against the Little Rock Rangers at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23 at SLUH. 

Club Atletico comes off a strong showing against FC Wichita, who boasts one of the best teams in the Heartland Conference. CASTL’s Liam Collins and FC Wichita’s Luca Anelli each notched a goal for their team in the 1-1 draw. 

“I think we did really well [last week],” goalkeeper Ty Frederking said. “We just had one little mishap and if we had buried a few more, the game would have been out of reach.”

Little Rock (1-1-0) heads on the road to St. Louis after a 3-1 victory over Ozark FC on May 12. They lost to Tulsa Athletic, 3-1, earlier in the season. 

Through two games, the Rangers have recorded four goals, scored by Trevor Reed, Donald Benamna, Alex Guadron and Ben Watson. 

“Little Rock will have a little more danger,” head coach Ricardo Garza said. “They’ll have some interesting players out wide. I think it will be a really good matchup because we have guys that can attack and get forward.”

Last season, CASTL split their games with Little Rock, falling 3-1 earlier in the season, but rebounding with a 3-2 victory on the road two games after. 

Little Rock had a very successful 2018 campaign, tallying a regular season record of 7-3, as they defeated FC Wichita, 5-3, in the 2018 NPSL Heartland Conference championship. 

As the tournament winner, they moved on to the NPSL South Region Playoffs, but fell to Miami FC, the eventual NPSL national champions, in the South Region Finals. 

With a win over the Rangers, CASTL would notch their first win of the season and get a strong victory over one of the best teams in the Heartland Conference. 

“[A win] would be huge,” Frederking said. “Coming off Sunday’s tie and then to come out and prove to ourselves that we can do this and we’re here for the whole season and teams should be scared of us.”

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