• December 21, 2022

The third day of ECNL St. Louis featured a number of teams who were looking to get through the weekend without suffering a loss.

At the 04/05 level, Eclipse Select SC took on Gretna Elite Academy in a game where both teams came in unbeaten on the weekend.

Eclipse got on the board in the first half to give them the early advantage moving into halftime.

Eclipse Head Coach Cleo Huitron noted that he was very happy with the possession his team had during the game, but also noted some tactical changes he implemented at halftime that he thought would help them.

“In the second half we tried a different formation and played with three flat midfielders,” Huitron said. “We had more control of the ball because we saw they were playing a 4-3-3 so we took their defenders out of the back.”

Both teams exchanged goals in the second half and Eclipse came out on top with a 2-1 victory, capping off a weekend that saw them go 3-0 across all of their games.

“I think overall for the weekend, with the group being fairly new, I think we did better than I expected,” Huitron said. “Not only by the scores, but possession, style of game, and getting everybody involved.”

With the high level of competition they faced this weekend, Huitron believes his team comes out of the weekend better prepared for some of the elite competition they will see as the season moves forward.

“The competition was very high and very aggressive,” Huitron said. “Fast paced games, so I think it helped us to be ready as far as what we need.”

Another game at the 04/05 level that saw two teams trying to get through the weekend unbeaten, took place between Solar SC and Rockford Raptors.

Solar and Rockford were scoreless most of the way, but both teams had some great chances in the second half to get the opening goal.

Late in the second half, both teams exchanged great chances, with Solar heading one just over the crossbar, while Rockford saw a shot ring off the post that nearly gave them the lead.

Solar eventually found the breakthrough though. After a corner was cleared away, the ball was sent back into the box on a great cross, where Caden Berg was able to rise up and head it home to give Solar a 1-0 victory.

“It was a long one coming. We had four or five chances we should have put away, so it was good for him to get it,” Assistant Coach Adam Demarais said.

As Solar hits the halfway point of their season, Demarais believes the team performed well over the weekend and is in a good position for the second half of the year.

“Overall, three really good games,” Demarais said. “We are halfway through our season in the conference so we’re kind of hitting our stride.”

The results will not only give Solar confidence moving forward on the field, but Demarais also talked about the chemistry these trips build among the players on the team

“It will give us confidence for sure. The whole group has come together. All these trips do that. Whenever we go on these trips, we take it as a chance to really get them to bond together and it carries us forward.”