PREVIEW: Club Atletico Saint Louis takes on Tulsa for first away game of the season

by Peyton Rives

Club Atletico Saint Louis (0-1-1) hits the road for its first away game of the season, as the Bluebirds take on Tulsa Athletic (2-0-2) at 2:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, June 2 at Veteran's Park.

CASTL comes off a 4-1 loss against Little Rock. After taking the lead in the first half, the Bluebirds surrendered three goals in the span of ten minutes. Little Rock added a goal in the 69th minute to make it 4-1.

“We had the lead,” CASTL head coach Ricardo Garza said. “We had the momentum. We had the composure, and we went out there and it was if we played like we were already down 4-1.”

Through two games, the Bluebirds have struggled on the offensive side of the ball, only scoring off a penalty kick and an own goal by Little Rock.

However, forward Alsadiq Hasan is now eligible to play for the Bluebirds and he hopes to add some offensive firepower to the already talented group of strikers.

“I’ve been waiting week in and week out and have been watching the team,” Hasan said. “I’m just excited to get out there and make my debut.”

Hasan, who plays soccer at Quincy University and graduated from Lindbergh High School, is a versatile player according to Garza.

“He’s a forward and attacking midfielder,” Garza said. “He’s a hybrid and he has such a high work rate. I think that he will relieve a little bit of the stress that is on the current forwards, which will ease up the whole offense.”

Tulsa, currently on the top of the Heartland Conference table through four games, has recorded eight points on the season. They defeated Little Rock and Ozark and drew against FC Wichita twice.

Tulsa is led by forward Aboubakr Diallo, who has scored a team-high three goals. In total, the team has scored eight goals on the young season, with Joseph Ruiz, Alex Harris, Junior Kazeem, Santiago Riveros and Joseph Garcia each contributing one goal apiece.  

The all-time series record between Tulsa and CASTL is tied 1-1, with each team recording a victory last season. CASTL won the first meeting between the teams 4-2, but later in the season, Tulsa avenged its loss with a 2-1 victory.

Last season, Tulsa tallied a 6-4-0 regular season record, good for third place in the Heartland Conference. Tulsa led the conference in goals with 26. In the playoffs, they lost on the road, 1-0, to the eventual champions, Little Rock.

CASTL, still looking for a win on the young 2019 season, could record a key victory over the top team in the Heartland Conference with a victory over Tulsa.

“It would be huge to beat the team in first place,” Hasan said. “It would get us in second or third place and be huge for us. We have the talent. We have quality players. We just started a little slow and we’re going to go harder from now on.”

With the first away game, the team will also have the opportunity to grow together and thus stronger.

“The chemistry starts to happen when you go on away trips,” Garza said. “Strong chemistry is a strong team. The closer we are to a family, you will fight for that brother and work harder on the field.”

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