The St. Albert Impact 1 men’s team gave up the best scoring chance of the game and surrendered the only goal Wednesday.
The Impact lost to SS Napoli 1-0 on at the St. Albert Rugby Football Club in Edmonton District Soccer Association Division 1B action. The game had to be moved next door from the St. Albert Soccer Association because of the condition the fields were in following the soccer tournament on the long weekend.
The loss dropped the Impact’s record to 1-1-1 early in the season. The only goal of the game was scored when the St. Albert side was less than 10 minutes away from escaping with a draw against the first-place team.
Napoli’s (3-0-0) goal in the 81st minute from Kevin Perez with an impressive strike from about 25 yards out was fired right over St. Albert keeper Connor MacEachran’s head.
“I thought there was a little bit of good ball movement and I thought our defence played really solid, but I don’t think we had enough shots,” said Impact midfielder Matt Tokarik. “We didn’t have enough chances at the net. We didn’t really make their keeper work hard enough, I don’t think.”
The game started off fairly even with St. Albert sending several crosses into the box, but they couldn’t get them past Arthur Jerimolo in the Napoli net. Towards the end of the second half, Napoli controlled the play, maintaining possession of the ball for a couple long stretches of time and getting the midfield with quick, crisp passes, but the back line for St. Albert held up.
In the second half, the game started getting a little more chippy, with three yellow cards being handed out in the span of three minutes. First, at the one-hour mark, St. Albert’s Shaun Kelly was given a caution for talking back to the referee. Next up was the eventual goal-scorer Perez. Lastly, Tyler Burak of the Impact was shown a yellow card for a hard tackle.
For the Impact on offence, it was much the same story with St. Albert having plenty of possession, but not enough quality chances at goal.
“We had some good balls working up the sidelines and a couple of decent crosses, but when the ball was there we didn’t have enough guys behind it and when there was guys in the box we weren’t really getting the ball in and we weren’t attacking well enough up the middle,” Tokarik said. “We weren’t going to our strikers.”
Several times during the game, the Impact shot the ball just over the net, including once from Burak in the 54th minute.
St. Albert coach Dave MacEachran said he’d like to be sitting with a couple of wins, adding that the team’s opening game, a tie, was a very winnable game, as was the match with Napoli.
“We had an easy game for the second game and won quite easily,” the coach said. “This game was a lot harder, but the team’s coming together. They’ve all played together, at one time or another, somewhere along in their careers and they’ve all melded into a team. They’re working hard and they’re going to do really well.”
Tokarik, 22, has been playing with the Impact men since he was 17, except for last year when he decided to take the summer off. The St. Albert Catholic High School graduate said he believes the team has some strong chemistry and has a good shot at finishing at the top of the league standings and earning promotion back up to the Premier Division, where they last were two years ago.
Also in action Wednesday was the St. Albert Impact 2 Men of Division 1A, who tied AC Milan 2 at two apiece. The Impact 2 Men have one win and one tie to start the season.