PREVIEW: CASTL returns home for a matchup with Ozark FC

by Peyton Rives

ST. LOUIS – Club Atletico Saint Louis (0-2-1) is looking for its first win of the season as the Bluebirds return home to battle Ozark FC (1-2-1) at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 at SLUH.

After Sunday’s 3-1 loss against Tulsa Athletic, CASTL is looking for a breakthrough on the still young season.

“It was balanced in the first half,” CASTL assistant coach Felix Kimeu said. “We conceded an early goal but came back and tied the game.”

Tulsa’s Aboubakr Diallo knocked in the goal in the 23rd minute off of a cross that slipped its way into the net for the first goal of the game.

However, Alsadiq Hasan, of CASTL, tied the game in the 57th minute as he found the back of the net off a pass from forward Eric Lopez. The goal marks Hasan’s first of the season.

“We worked the ball to the middle and got it out wide,” Lopez said. “I played it inside for him, he took on two players, shot the ball and scored.”

With a late goal in the 87th minute and PK conversion in the 90th minute, Tulsa ultimately prevailed and put the game out of reach.

“At the end of the day, it was a loss, but we did learn a lot about ourselves that we’re hoping to translate into Saturday.” Lopez said.

CASTL now moves on to Ozark FC, currently sitting in fourth place in the Heartland Conference with four points.

“Ozark is a big game for us,” Kimeu said. “We’re looking for our first win of the season. That would be the beginning of the season, to get our first win.”

Ozark FC, led by head coach Scott Marksberry, lost to Tulsa, drew against Demize NPSL and split their matches against Little Rock through four games on the season.

Ozark FC has scored five goals on the young season, the third most in the Heartland Conference thus far. Jacob Zamarron is their leading scorer with two. Quinton Carey, Matheus Ferreira, Alex Buckley have each scored one goal as well.

Last season, CASTL and Ozark FC met twice. Early in the season, the teams drew, 1-1, but it was CASTL who prevailed, 2-1, over Ozark FC later in the season, meaning the all-time record between the teams is 1-0-1.

The 2019 campaign for Ozark FC has already been more successful than last season, as their record was 0-9-1 in 2018. Through four games this season, they have already eclipsed their win total. With five goals, they have also surpassed their total goals last season, which was four.

Since they did not finish in the top four of the conference, they were not eligible for the playoffs.

With a vastly improved team this year, Ozark FC has become more dangerous on the field. A win over Ozark FC would not just be the first win of the season for CASTL, it would also signify a quality win over a top opponent in the conference.

“I think if we get that result, it will be a huge boost for us,” Lopez said. “It will kind of trampoline us into the rest of the season.”

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