FENTON, Mo. – Russell Cicerone recorded a pair of goals as Saint Louis FC welcomed The Miami FC to the USL Championship with a 4-1 victory at West Community Stadium on Saturday night.
Saint Louis opened the game on the front foot as both Cicerone and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare forced good saves inside the opening five minutes by Miami goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre. The hosts took the lead in the 10th minute on a defensive mistake, however, as Kyle Greig stole in to steal a pass intended for Sylvestre before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into the open net.
Cicerone had a chance to double the lead six minutes later when he powered a header off a cross by Paris Gee that was tipped over the crossbar by Sylvestre. Cicerone found the net in the 21st minute, however, as he blasted home an indirect free kick from inside the penalty area after a tap by Todd Wharton.
Miami overcame its shaky start and began to come into the contest more as the first half wore on. Prince Saydee got in on a breakaway but had his low shot saved by Kyle Morton on the half-hour mark, and then just before halftime the visitors got on the board when STLFC’s Oscar Umar brought down Saydee in the penalty area. Romario Williams stepped up and shot low into the left corner to make it a one-goal game at the halftime break.
The visitors had a chance to level early in the second half when Vincent Bezecourt fired a shot toward the right corner that Morton parried and then did just enough to cover with Williams lurking for the rebound. Saint Louis then began to regain its footing, though, as Greig almost notched his second with a glancing header that went just wide of the left post.
Saint Louis restored its two-goal lead with 13 minutes to go as Tyler Blackwood latched onto a pass from Todd Wharton on the right side, cut into the penalty area and finished calmly into the left corner of the net. Cicerone then had a chance to put the game away on a counterattack seven minutes remaining, only to sky his chance on a breakaway, but in second-half stoppage time Cicerone made no mistake to put away a curling finish from the left side of the penalty area to wrap up the victory.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Russell Cicerone, Saint Louis FC – Cicerone notched a pair of goals and was a thorn in the side of Miami’s defense most of the night, putting six shots on target as well.