KANSAS CITY, Ks. – Saint Louis FC won 4-3 away over Swope Park Rangers in front of 1,013 fans at Children’s Mercy Park in Match 31 of the USL Regular Season.
Swope Park opened the scoring through Hadji Barry in the 22nd minute as he received the ball at the top of the box and fired low past STLFC goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. Saint Louis FC would respond through Michael Cox who pounced on a turnover from Swope Park goalkeeper Eric Dick for an easy finish in the 37th minute. The away side would then get another goal in first half stoppage time as Lewis Hilton hit the crossbar from a free kick but Tony Walls was there to finish with a diving header. Substitute Joey Calistri would double the advantage in the 59th minute before fellow-substitute Kyle Greig seemingly put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute with his 13th goal of the season. Swope Park would set up a nervy finale, however, as they got two late goals from Tyler Blackwood and Ethan Vanacore-Decker to see the game finish 4-3. The win moves Saint Louis FC to 12-8-10 with 46 points while Swope Park Rangers falls to 13-10-7 and remains on 46 points in the USL Western Conference.
The first half started with Saint Louis FC pressing high and they nearly had it pay off as Cox was one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the 1st minute but had his shot saved. Corey Hertzog also had a scoring opportunity from the top of the box in the 18th minute before Swope Park came down the field and opened the scoring through team-leading scorer Barry in the 22nd minute for his 13th goal this season after being found at the top of the box by Kharlton Belmar. The high press would pay dividends for Saint Louis FC in the 37th minute, however, as Hertzog forced Dick into giving the ball away and Cox was there to finish for the equalizer. They would get another just before halftime as Hilton’s free kick hit the top corner of the crossbar and the ball fell kindly to Tony Walls who headed it in for his second goal of the season to see the away side up 2-1 going into the break.
The second half saw both teams make substitutions and it was STLFC substitute Calistri who made the immediate impact in the 59th minute as he crashed into the box following a corner kick and got on the end of a Wal Fall flick to finish for his fifth goal of the season. Calistri nearly scored again in the 70th minute but was denied by a good save from Dick before fellow-substitute Greig burst behind the defense and finished with his left foot in the 82nd minute. Swope Park would then get a goal back through substitute Blackwood who cut inside his defender and beat Gomez at the near post in the 84th minute before Vanacore-Decker placed a curler in the top corner from just inside the box in second half stoppage time to see the game finish 4-3.
“Massive effort from the guys today, I thought it was a deserved victory,” said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “During the first half we played some really good football, and in the second half we had to defend more but we were clinical in counterattack situations which we knew would be important today. It’s vital we stay grounded now and prepare well for another huge game against San Antonio next weekend. Also, a big thanks to all the fans that travelled here and I’m so pleased we gave them three points to celebrate on the way home.”
Saint Louis FC vs. San Antonio FC – Saturday, September 22nd at 7:30 p.m. CT at Toyota Stadium