(Press Release, Photo Credit: Talkstl.com)
In a battle of expansion teams, the St. Louis Ambush host the Pennsylvania Roar Friday night at the Family Arena. Both the Ambush and the Roar are Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) expansion clubs for the 2013-14 season. The contest kicks-off the season for the Ambush and will be the second game for the Roar, who dropped an 18-7 decision to the Syracuse Silver Knights on November 15.
The first 2,500 fans in attendance at Friday’s home opener will receive a free rally towel, courtesy of Simmons First National Bank.
Friday night’s duel marks the end of a seven-year drought without indoor soccer in one of the cities that helped popularize the sport in the 1980’s. “St. Louis has been a mecca for both indoor and outdoor soccer for decades,” said Ambush team owner Andrew Haines. “We’re thrilled to bring the sport back to the great fans in the Gateway City.”
The Ambush will be led into battle by St. Louis soccer legend Daryl Doran. It will be his twelfth season coaching professional indoor soccer. Doran has played for every professional indoor soccer team in St. Louis and he coached the 1994-95 Ambush to the city’s only league title. Friday’s match will be a homecoming for the coach of the visiting team. Eric Puls, Head Coach of the Roar, is a St. Louis native who once played for the old St. Louis Knights.
Among the St. Louis soccer veterans on the Ambush squad are midfielder Jeff DiMaria and forwards Elvir Kafedzic and Jake Bleyenberg. DiMaria and Kafedzic were both members of the Steamers squad that came within a goal of capturing the MISL crown in 2006. MISL veterans on the St. Louis side include goalkeeper Jeff Richey and forwards Mike Mesle and Dan Antoniuk.
Among the veterans on the Roar roster are Sandre Naumoski, who also played for the 2005-06 Steamers, Ptah Myers, Sol Caceras, Angel Rivillo-Ruiz, David Bruckner, Christopher Williams and goalkeeper Peter Pappas.
During his distinguished career, Pappas appeared in 416 games over 13 seasons and captured the Goalkeeper of the Year award four times. At 41 years old, Pappas doesn’t appear to have lost a step. In the Roar’s November 15 game, Pappas turned in an impressive performance, making 19 saves on 28 attempts. Although Pappas has the advantage in experience, St. Louis goalkeeper Jeff Richey is certainly no novice to the MISL wars. The 35-year old Richey has played ten indoor soccer seasons for five different teams. Jeff played last season for the now-defunct Chicago Soul and was a standout in goal. He ranked first in the MISL in saves with 471 and third in the league in save percentage at .775. Richey was also a workhorse for the Soul, spending 14884:10 minutes in goal, for second best in the league.