By Des Moines United FC
Des Moines United swiped another win over Club Atletico Saint Louis to keep them on top of the conference.
This was the perfect scenario for Des Moines United FC after a busy week with three games in four days. Des Moines United was able to manage to win three games: against Milwaukee Torrent on the road on Wednesday, against Ehtar Belleville FC on Friday, and against Club Atletico Saint Louis on Saturday.
Both teams went into this second game with a win over their opponents; St. Louis upset the Raptors in Cedar Rapids the night before and kept their chances alive to make the postseason. For Des Moines United, the win in this match was more than important since their main goal of finishing on top of the conference is still alive, and there is no margin for error at this point of the season.
The game started just like fans would expect with the home team pressing and creating chances. Des Moines United made a few changes to their lineup from the prior night to keep the intensity as high as they could and to surprise the visitors.
St. Louis, on the other hand, didn’t get intimidated. They almost opened the scoring, but Des Moines United defender Austin Holteback cleared out almost on top of the goal line. After that, the home team created five clear chances to score, but again, the home team was not able to finish and kept the visitors in the game.
With neither team scoring, the score at halftime was 0-0. As the game resumed, Des Moines United kept pressing and again was lacking in finishing. The home team then started to make their substitutions, focusing on getting that goal so things could settle a little bit. Jayce Berger went in for Des Moines United, and you could see the massive impact he had on the team.
With more mobility, the home team kept missing their opportunities, and St. Louis almost surprised everyone with a very well-organized counterattack, but Rayane El Mehdi was there again to save the home team with a brilliant save.
With the game looking like it would be scoreless and both teams showing fatigue from the game the night before, Des Moines United winger Jayce Berger shined again. With his speed and great technique, he left the defender behind and placed the ball perfectly in the left corner, beating the opposing goalkeeper.
Des Moines head coach Francisco Fernandes shared his thoughts on the matchup.
“Again, we couldn’t finish our chances, and that almost cost us the game,” Fernandes said. “We need to calm down in front of the goal and just place the ball in the corner. A lot of times we just want to kick it as hard as we can, and we miss chances. One of these days, we will really see the chances and opportunities we are missing to win a match. We cannot be creating that much and only scoring one goal.”
The highlight of the game was an amazing performance from Des Moines United midfielder Guilherme Cunha.
“Gui has been the rock for our team; that kid is always giving his 110%, and it shows in every match we play,” Fernandes said. “He controls the tempo in the middle for us and, at the same time, is a fantastic defender. He is a true example of leadership, and that’s why he is our captain, and all our players trust him.”
Des Moines United have a full week to organize themselves for their next game on June 16 at 7:00 pm against Iowa Raptors FC at Indianola Stadium.
Photo Credit: Doug Wells