Not many cities appreciate the US Open Cup like St. Louis. With more than 100 years of history, and now an Open Cup Third Round attendance record to add to its storied past as 22,423 at CityPark had much to celebrate as St. Louis City SC soared past Union Omaha, 5-1.
It was City’s first appearance in the storied competition and one that they have been looking forward to.
Count’em ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/REe30Bouzf— St Louis CITY SC (@stlCITYsc) April 26, 2023
“We spoke to the group this week about what this tournament means to the city of St. Louis,” St. Louis manager Bradley Carnell said. “We wanted to head into this game with intensity and a lot of bravery.”
St. Louis’ intensity was instantly noticeable as Aziel Jackson scored in the third minute, a left-footed shot from the outside of the box to the bottom left corner.
Carnell wanted his squad to keep up the pressure but Union Omaha held back St. Louis for the rest of the first half. Omaha tested St. Louis at times but the scoreline was largely due to the performance of Omaha keeper Rashid Nuhu. His eight saves in the game kept it within striking distance, but that wouldn’t last long.
Three minutes into the second half, Célio Pompeo drove into the box and sent a powerful ball toward Nuhu’s back post. Midfielder Joe Gallardo successfully blocked the cross, but the deflection resulted in an own-goal against Gallardo.
With a two-goal lead, St. Louis continued to pressure Omaha’s backline, resulting in 23 shot attempts.
St. Louis benefited from strong performances everywhere on the field.
“Every time we put the ball in dangerous places, good things happen,” Célio said. “We love playing like that.”
Célio stayed involved, this time setting up Akil Watts for his first-ever City goal, a right-footed shot from the right side of the box to the high center of the goal. Watts also had a productive match, completing 42 passes throughout the match along with six passes into the final third.
Aziel Jackson continued his man-of-the-match performance by securing a brace in the 66th minute with a left-footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom right corner.
Union Omaha hurt St. Louis though, grabbing a goal and cutting the score to 4-1 from a Pedro Dolabella left-footed shot from the right side of the six-yard box to the bottom right corner.
St. Louis slammed the door shut with a fifth goal in the 88th minute, as a newly substituted Eduard Löwen cut through Omaha defenders en route to easily finding the bottom corner of the goal behind Nuhu.
“Yeah, it was really special,” Jackson said of the win.