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River Light: Post Match & Pre Game Review

A dramatic finish ended with River Light FC salvaging a point with a 3-3 draw as they hosted St.Charles FC for their home opener last Sunday at Spartan Athletic Park.

Just minutes after kickoff, a failed St.Charles attack left them with a high defensive line. River Light took advantage as they slipped past via the far flank, leaving Earnest Mensah open to bury his first goal of the season.

Getting whiffs of a goal, St.Charles attacked with pace and crosses into the box but never got past the puzzle of River Light’s defense. However, after a free kick sailed high above the crossbar for St.Charles, River Light crossed a ball into the penalty area as keeper Andrea Scapolo crashed into George Mason’s Marek Gonda who drew the penalty.

Keeping his cool, IUPUI’s Logan Finnegan buried the ball into the back of the net, beating Scapolo in the process and dropping the second goal of the half for River Light. Up by two goals at the half, River Light left for the locker room.

“I think we started out well, we showed what we’re capable of with the guys that we have, just wish we had capitalized starting the second half,” Finnegan said.

Back from the break and five minutes into the second half, a counterattack ensued for St.Charles after promising River Light play was thwarted, leaving River Light exposed at the back as St.Charles scored their first of the match.

“In this league, you're gonna play against different people, everybody rotates the squad so you can never be 100% sure who you're gonna see so you have to be willing to solve those problems on the fly,” head coach Charlie Latshaw said. “And I think for a lot of our guys that haven't been with us previously, it was certainly a learning experience.”

Despite the goal igniting a spark in St.Charles, Oregon State’s Gandhi Cruz was there to smother it making multiple saves to contain the second half attack.

“He's exceptional with his feet, he's unique in that nature where I really value the ability for goalies to participate in possession,” Latshaw said. “He's a good guy in the locker room and the teams behind him and they really support the things he does.”

St.Charles eventually found their equalizer as Khedoo outmuscled River Lights right flank and crossed a shot past Cruz for a close range finish. With all the momentum, St.Charles took advantage of another misstep from the backline to get in front with six minutes left on the clock.

“I think we definitely expected a different approach by the opposition in that game, we were aware of their athletic capacity and their physical nature,” Latshaw said. “They scored most of their goals in transition this year so we didn't expect them to sit as high up the field as they did and press us.”

Down by one and in stoppage time, some good developing play saw Finnegan receive the ball near the penalty area as he pushed the ball in for his second and River Light’s equalizer. Almost immediately on the other side of the field, Cruz had to come out of his box to deny a St.Charles attacker once again.

“We're going to have to grow and learn to close out some of these games that are tight like that. When we score three goals in a game, the expectation should be to get the three points and win that game,” Latshaw said.
“So for us, it's just about growth and understanding that we have to have some tactical flexibility and solve some problems on the field together,” Latshaw added.

Next up for River Light; one of the newest teams in USL League Two will meet one of the oldest, as River Light takes on the Des Moines Menace. While this is the first duel between both sides, there is some familiarity between both coaching staffs as Des Moines head coach Troy McKerrell was previously on Latshaw's staff.

“Me and Coach Troy [McKerrell] know each other well, we worked together on the same staff last year and had a lot of success, we know how each other wants to play,” Latshaw said.

Des Moine Menace is coming to Aurora having scored nine goals in their last two match-ups while only conceding once. They found success against the Chicago Dutch Lions FC and Chicago City SC, besting the Dutch Lions 5-0.

Despite Chicago City striking first, Des Moines didn’t let that stop them as they ended the match with a 4-1 victory. Coming in hot for Des Moines is Preston Popp, who scored a brace against Chicago City SC last week.

“This game could go either way depending on the night and how the bodies feel. It will require a heavy workload,” Latshaw said. “But for us it's once again a measuring stick for us to see where we really stand.”

Come out to Spartan Athletic Park and join River Light FC as they host Des Moines Menace at 7 p.m.

Take a look at pictures from the match against St. Charles!


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