Up until Friday night, February been brutal for the St. Louis Ambush.
They entered Friday night’s game on a three-game losing streak, as they fell from second place to fifth place in their division. The main reason for this drop has been the depletion of the roster. Whether it be due to injuries, Covid-19 related health issues or quarantining in general, the Ambush have been at the bare-minimum of roster size for most of the month.
However, recently their fortunes have changed with some crucial additions to the roster. The Ambush acquired defender Patrick Thompson, midfielder Will Eskay and forward Jerjer Gibson from the Harrisburg Heat, who opted-out of the 2021 season. And their additions immediately have helped the team, as Eskay has scored two goals and Gibson posted a single tally on February 12th against the Comets.
But above everything else, Friday night’s game was about celebration. It was turning back time over 30 years to celebrate the St. Louis Steamers (1979-88) that were so beloved in St. Louis during the 1980’s they actually drew higher attendance numbers than the St. Louis Blues. Rocking the ol’ 1979 jerseys, the Ambush trotted onto the field in front of one of the largest crowds this season at the Family Arena.
And in the end, a game-winning goal by Thompson sealed the deal for St. Louis, as the excitement of the past met the present in a 4-3 victory.
The main theme throughout the first quarter was the Ambush’s inability to capitalize on situations they should’ve. On multiple occasions, they went on a power-play, only to be denied by strong defense from San Diego and solid goaltending from Antony Siaha. In the end, it led to a scoreless first from both teams.
The scoreless tie was finally broken with 10:11 to go in the second quarter with a goal by Cesar Cerda off an assist from Leonardo De Oliveira to give San Diego a 1-0 lead over St. Louis. Not to be outdone, at the 9:43 mark, Vadim Cojocov scored thanks to an assist from Stefan Mijatovic to tie the game. Lucas Almeida joined in on the fun to break the tie less than a minute later, giving the Ambush a 2-1 lead.
Suddenly, the intensity and fire that the team was lacking the past three weeks was back, and at halftime the Ambush were ahead 2-1 on the Sockers.
During halftime, the St. Louis Steamers Youth Club paid tribute to the legacy to the original Steamers, as well as every former soccer franchise that has graced the Gateway City. A video package also played on the video board in the Family Arena showing some of the team’s highlights during the “glory days”.
But starting with the second half, it was back to business.
San Diego tied it up at 11:17 in the third quarter off a goal from Taylor Walter Bond and an assist from Guerrero Pino. But the Ambush broke the tie yet again when Cojocov scored his second goal of the evening, this time thanks to Almeida.
The Sockers, however, struck back in the fourth to tie it a 3-3 thanks to an unassisted goal from Brandon Escoto.
Eskay and Gibson thrived thus far for the Ambush… and that’s when Thompson called game with 37 seconds left, firing a shot right past the goalie and sending the Family Arena into a frenzy of excitement. Eventually, they held on as the Ambush/Steamers ended their three-game losing streak, defeating the San Diego Sockers 4-3.
St. Louis and San Diego will face off again Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CST at Axius Field at the Family Arena.
Tickets for upcoming home games are available at the Family Arena box office or online at ticketmaster.com. You can also view all of the Ambush games on Facebook Live PPV.