COLUMBUS, Ohio — The four-hour-long weather delay at Columbus’ Lower.com Field certainly did not help St. Louis CITY SC Sunday night.
The match, which was initially set for 6:30 p.m. Central time, would face multiple delays due to inclement storms in the area.
The fielding of a squad almost reminiscent of a B squad could very well have not helped manners. Many recognizable faces were absent in the Leagues Cup group opener.
Columbus Crew’s Lucas Zelarayán curled home a free kick in the 11th minute of the match to open up the scoring. Bad would become worse 18 minutes later in the 29th minute when Chuco Hernández successfully converted from the penalty box.
Down two-nil at halftime, things certainly looked bleak for CITY SC.
“We were open too much through the middle,” said CITY SC manager Bradley Carnell about Columbus’ goals after the match. “Sometimes we protect the middle, and then it’s open on the side.”
Carnell also stated that the squad could have been a bit more proactive in the mind and then the body could follow.
“We played a little bit of catch-up like that,” Carnell said. “Which could be understandable after, you know, a five-hour wait in the locker room. [Waiting,] not knowing if we’re playing tonight. Every three minutes, there’s an update and then there’s no update.”
Carnell likened the situation to a lottery on how the game started and how they came out onto the pitch.
CITY SC cuts the deficit in half — but not of its own creation
CITY SC was able to cut the deficit in the second half in the 84th minute, but it wasn’t exactly a late-match St. Louis goal. What was initially a cross-off via a corner kick from Indy Vassilev to Nico Gioacchini was not. The VAR would actually confirm that the shot would deflect off Columbus’ Jacen Russell-Rowe into the goal.
Despite the free goal courtesy of the Crew, CITY SC was unable to find the equalizer in the final minutes.
The impact on play as a result of multiple storm delays, player priority list
Carnell fielded a question about CITY SC’s player priority list, especially given their rearranged schedule. However, it did not only factor in the schedule in general, but also the pre-match weather delays.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve been able to…get a lot of guys good minutes,” Carnell said. “And we’ve been flexible on these heavily-scheduled weeks. We are able to basically roll out, if need be, a whole new roster or team, and a competitive one at that on Thursday. We’ll just assess.”
Carnell thought he saw some good performances individually.
“It now poses us questions in the coaches’ locker room,” Carnell adds. “We’ll discus this as a staff and come up with the best plan possible.”
CITY SC hopes to keep Leagues Cup run alive
CITY SC will be hoping to keep its Leagues Cup run alive Thursday, July 27 at CITYPARK against Liga MX heavyweight Club América on July 27 to complete their Leagues Cup group stage action.
Scoring summary: CLB: Lucas Zelarayán, 11; CLB: Cucho Hernández, 29; STL: Jacen Russell-Rowe (CLB own goal), 85
Misconduct summary: STL: Sam Adeniran (caution), 56; CLB: Yevhen Cheberko (caution), 88; CLB: Mohamed Farsi (caution), 90’+3’; STL: Célio Pompeu (caution), 90’+5’
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.