The Nightingale: St. Louis

The Nightingale: St. Louis

By Richard Nightingale

” Many do with opportunities as children do at the seashore; they fill their little hands with sand, and then let the grains fall through, one by one ” – Thomas Jones

After a magnificent road win at Charleston last Saturday, the cloud of despair once again descended Wednesday night on Highmark Stadium. Early going was promising with Banjo confidently converting a gift from Gorrick in the St Louis net. Unfortunately that was as good as it would get for Pittsburgh as prodigal son Angulo leveled the score and Volesky scored the winner to secure all three points for St Louis and condemn Pittsburgh to a home loss.

Both teams weren’t at their best on the night. St. Louis just found that extra ten percent and as we have noted in the past, winning is an art and it’s a fine line between success and mediocrity in the USL. And there was a lot of mediocrity on display. Neither team found any tempo, could control large passages of play and in general was a very scrappy affair. Plenty of frustration evident on the field. Kerr and Hertzog for Pittsburgh were pulling their hair out, neither could get balls played to feet and passes intended for them were either wayward or over hit. Both had minimal impact on the game and looked shadows of what we have seen the first three games. The one standout was Octavio Guzman in the center of midfield for St. Louis. He was the glue that held St. Louis together on a difficult night. Rattled Souto in the center of Pittsburgh’s midfield and I would suggest resting him for the trip to Charlotte and give Earls a run. Going to be a very physical road game in Charlotte, right in Danny’s wheelhouse.

Icing on the cake of mediocrity for me was the inept commentary. Where are Child and Klein? How is this new direction from USL better than what we saw in 2016? Change is good if adds value and moves you to a better place. The two muppets I had to endure were atrocious and was like pencils in the eyes. Enough! Club need to insist on return of the two legends.

Pittsburgh’s new loanee, Greenspan settled in pretty well and had a steady game in the middle at the back. I was worried when I heard he had been sent out by Minnesota as they have on average conceded four goals a game in the MLS. Thought Brandt was planning a Navy alumni game. Big lad and needs to play his size. Worried about his mobility and ability to play out of the back. We shall see. Why on earth is Jack Thompson playing right back? He can barely stand on his right foot and every time he get’s the ball has to check back and inside on to his left peg. Defy you to name me any team in any league that has a left footed player starting at right back. Is the squad so depleted that he has to fill in there? Broome was in goal for Mitchell? Why? Are we going back to the insanity of rotating keepers? Unless they are injured, how many keepers get dropped after a win? Bizarre.

Anyway, this one’s in the book. Past is dust. Definitely need to shake off the cobwebs and respond this Saturday as the following week another road game at Richmond. At times Pittsburgh seem to play what I call ‘chaotic’. More concerned with moving ball forward quickly and very directly than being chastised for slowing game down and laying backwards. I would never not applaud a team for taking the game to the opposition but on Wednesday Pittsburgh looked rushed and gave the ball away far to easily and often, trying to force the play if that makes sense? You always want to stamp and impose your style of play on the game but when it’s not paying dividends change it up. Good coaches do that. We saw Brandt do that Saturday in Charleston, but on Wednesday any changes and adjustments he made proved futile.

Everyone have a great Easter and here’s hoping to see a resurrection in Charlotte.

Mike Sparks

In addition to watching, coaching, and occasionally playing soccer, Mike also enjoys talking all things soccer over at the Mon Goals podcast. Go give the show a listen and let him know what you think