KNOCKING ON THE DOOR TO THE PLAYOFFS
ST. LOUIS, MO (September 7, 2010) – The 2010 USSF Division II Pro League season has been one long, strange trip for the players of AC St. Louis. And now, with just five games left to play, this expansion side may just find themselves in the playoffs despite everything that has gone wrong. A team that started the season 0-4-0, and at one point was 1-7-1, is within just two points of a playoff position with five games to play.
“It would mean everything for us to make the playoffs,” said defender Zach Bauer following Tuesday morning’s training session. “This season has had so many up and downs. Being a first year team that has worked so hard, especially since the new coaching staff has arrived, it would be nice to do this. We are close. It would mean a lot to our fans, and a lot to us.”
“It would be huge. To come from where we were at 1-7-1 after nine games to now says a lot about our team and coaching staff, “ stated team captain Jack Traynor. “This weekend against Minnesota will be a big stepping stone for us.”
A head coaching change, ownership issues, the loss of their marquee player, and a rash of injuries have not stopped AC St. Louis from rebounding. Since Dale Schilly took over as head coach on June 24 the team has a record of 4-4-7, has earned respectability, and has become very difficult to beat.
AC St. Louis has three of their remaining five games at home, and will face the NSC Minnesota Stars this Saturday night for what essentially is a playoff game. AC St. Louis has lost just twice at home in their last nine matches, and with three of their remaining five games coming at home it is a trend they need to continue, as well as a moment to not become complacent.
“Being within two points feels the same as the last game. You still have to win your games, it doesn’t feel any different,” reflected leading scorer Mike Ambersley. “We are not in the playoffs, so we don’t want to get complacent. We need to focus on Minnesota, and get the three points from that match. It is all about getting the next win at this point.”
“Starting off 1-7-1, a lot of teams may have quit,” said Bauer. “For us to get back to within two points shows a lot about our team, our organization, and our heart.”
One thing that the 2010 edition of AC St. Louis is not short on is character. A rollercoaster ride of a season is wrapping up, and AC St. Louis is not done with their ride yet. The schedule will have a lot to say about which teams make the final eight spot for the playoffs. AC St. Louis will have back-to-back home games coming up, with a tough test against the Austin Aztex on September 18. The team will travel for their last two road games in Austin and Miami the following week before finishing the season at home against Rochester on October 2.
Austin and Rochester are already qualified for the playoffs, but they are neck and neck for the best record in the league. Meaning their games against AC St. Louis could be critical to their playoff seeding. Therefore, and in many ways, the playoffs actually begin Saturday night for AC St. Louis.
Hey Supporters! Ask Coach Dale! Please send us your questions for Coach Schilly and we will include them in this week’s interview. Send by noon on Thursday to Tony -> THubert@AC-StLouis.com
AC St. Louis’ next home match is on Saturday evening, September 11 at 7:10 p.m. against the NSC Minnesota Stars. Tickets are still available and can be obtained by calling 1-888-STL-GOAL, or by visiting www.ac-stlouis.com.