PREVIEW: CASTL seeks revenge over Little Rock
ST. LOUIS – Club Atletico Saint Louis (1-3-1) has an opportunity to avenge their loss against Little Rock (3-3-0), as they travel to Arkansas on Saturday, June 15. The game is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on mycujoo.tv.
Earlier in the week, the Bluebirds dropped a close game to Demize NPSL, which, for majority of the game, was even.
The difference, however, came when Demize launched a quick offensive attack, following a Bluebirds shot on goal. Demize was able to push past the CASTL defenders and Matt Yankowitz buried a goal in the 58th minute to give the home team the 1-0 lead.
“We reached,” head coach Ricardo Garza said. “We reached way too hard trying to get a goal and it came back to cost us on the counter attack.”
The Bluebirds had their fair share of opportunities, as they controlled the game near the end, but were unable to score the equalizing goal, falling just short of the draw.
“When we get in the top of the box, we need a killer instinct,” assistant coach Charles Renken said. “That’s the only thing we’re missing at times.”
With the first half of the season through, the Bluebirds now shift focus to the second half. Although currently in the top four of the Heartland Conference standings, CASTL holds just a slim lead over Ozark FC and FC Wichita, which is based on goals scored and goal differential.
“I’m enjoying our conference this year,” Garza said. “Any given day, you don’t know the result, and that’s the league we want to play in.”
As all teams are vying for a spot in the top four, the Bluebirds will need to improve their game. Their first opportunity to do so comes on the road against the Little Rock Rangers.
“That’s the beauty of this,” Garza said. “The top four teams move on and we have five more games to qualify.”
Little Rock, led by head coach Will Montgomery, boasts one of the top squads in the conference. They rank second in goals scored on the season, with 12.
Donald Benamna is their leading scorer with five. In the last two games alone, he has scored all three of the team’s goals.
Earlier this season, CASTL lost, 4-1, to the Rangers at home. After leading the game 1-0 going into halftime, the Bluebirds surrendered four goals in the second half, giving the win to Little Rock.
Now, with a chance at revenge, CASTL must be more prepared to face the third-place team in the conference.
Like last season, the Bluebirds dropped an early game to the Rangers at home, but they sought revenge, rebounding with 3-2 victory on the road two games later. This season, that is still on the table.
“We just have to start understanding what the other team is giving us and take advantage of that.” Garza said.
With a victory over Little Rock, CASTL would not only be able to avenge their loss against a top team, but they would also gain a crucial three points that would help them qualify for the playoffs later in the season.
“I think this would be a massive three points for our team because it will give confidence to the boys.” Renken said.
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When: Saturday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: War Memorial Stadium
How to watch: Game will be streamed on mycujoo.tv