UMSL men’s soccer team tests itself in friendly match with St. Louis CITY SC Academy team

by | Mar 18, 2024

The Tritons performed well while debuting a new formation during the off-season scrimmage.
JT Goldstein

Team captain JT Goldstein maneuvers for a header against the the St. Louis CITY SC Academy U20 team during a friendly match Saturday morning. (Photos by Derik Holtmann)

Amidst St. Louis’ St. Patrick’s Day festivities Saturday morning, a small crowd of dedicated soccer fans gathered around Field 3 of the St. Louis City SC training facility in the heart of the city.

The three dozen spectators set up lawn chairs and coolers, not seeming to mind the revelers clad in green passing by, as they settled in to watch a friendly match between the University of Missouri–St. Louis men’s soccer team and the St. Louis CITY SC Academy U20 team.

The off-season scrimmage was arranged by Alexander Langer, St. Louis CITY SC’s director of goalkeeping and first-team goalkeeper coach, and builds on UMSL’s position as the official higher education partner of the local Major League Soccer team.

Diego Cadena

Diego Cadena looks for an open man on a throw in during the off-season scrimmage.

UMSL Head Coach Josh Alderson said the friendly with CITY SC’s United Premier Soccer League team was a perfect opportunity to test a new formation, which the team is preparing for next season. Alderson noted it’s only the second time the team has tested it against an opponent.

“We’re currently in our offseason,” he said. “We’re undergoing training for a new formation – very similar style of play but a different formation. A lot of the work is not based around who we’re playing right now; it’s more about how we can implement that new formation in games. Obviously, we knew the quality of this opponent was going to be really high. So we were excited to get that challenge.”

The Tritons found success with the new scheme, controlling the ball and keeping City SC out of rhythm. They created offensive opportunities by stretching the field with well-executed long balls.

Eventually, CITY SC found its footing and created its own offensive opportunities, starting late in the first half and continuing after intermission. But UMSL was able to repel the attacks with stellar defensive play and goalkeeping.

Luca Saewe

Luca Saewe rises above the competition for a header.

UMSL captain JT Goldstein and vice-captain Austin Reis were both pleased with the team’s performance Saturday. Goldstein said the Tritons delivered an “ideal start,” and he also commended the squad’s organization and communication while playing a new system.

“I think we came out well,” Reis said. “We kind of set the tempo from the front foot. It was a good test for us. We’re working on some new things, so it’s nice to see some guys in positions they haven’t been in before. I think everyone played well.”

Alderson concurred.

“I’m really, really impressed,” he said. “There is a lot of quality on that team over there. There are a lot of guys that are going to go and play a very, very high level in college, and a lot of guys that will go and play professional. For us to come up today and compete in the way we did and implement the things we’ve been working on, I was really, really pleased with what I saw from all of the guys.”

Triton soccer players defend net

The Tritons turned in an impressive defensive performance during the second half.

Reis was appreciative of the chance to play a professional academy team, and Goldstein found the experience particularly meaningful as a senior.

“It’s a real surreal moment for me as a senior going into my last year, so my last spring here,” Goldstein said. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to represent the boys here today and the university. It was a real full-circle moment.”

Alderson is eager for the program to collaborate with CITY SC again in the future and is grateful for what the club has done to advance the beautiful game in St. Louis.

UMSL Head Coach Josh Alderson with team

UMSL Head Coach Josh Alderson (center) talks with the team during halftime.

“This spring is wonderful in the sense that we get to try new things, do new things, face different opposition,” Alderson said. “An opportunity like this, we’re very grateful to CITY for hosting us. The hospitality they’ve shown has been fantastic, and we hope that we can maybe play some more games in the future against them because this is the pinnacle of what we want to do.

“We’re really excited about where we’re going as a program and the partnership that as a school we have with CITY. The soccer environment in St. Louis right now is exciting, so this was a great showing and a really enjoyable event and a great day. The future looks very bright.”

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