Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pais' Save, PKs Propel STLFC

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pais' Save, PKs Propel STLFC

Article excerpt

FENTON * St. Louis FC goalkeeper Mark Pais came up with a huge stop to start penalty kicks and teammates Brandon Barklage, Patrick Doody and Oskar Gasecki converted on their tries as the home team outlasted visiting Minnesota United FC to win 2-1 in penalty kicks before a crowd of 2,579 at Soccer Park Wednesday night.

STLFC outscored Minnesota of the North American Soccer League 3- 1 in penalties in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third-round game and will advance to take on Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer in a fourth-round game June 16 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

"Really happy for the guys and the way they performed," STLFC coach Dale Schilly said, calling it his team's "most complete performance of the year."

And the feeling going into penalties?

"At that point, there's not much thought," the coach said. "You ask the guys to make a decision and not second-guess themselves. And Pais, I think he's good at it. He's athletic, he's imposing. If you question yourself at all ... he can make a save."

Pais, a Ladue High product who also played at St. Louis U., said a talk with goalkeeping coach Brian Jones during the week set the tone.

"The big thing is getting into your zone and not letting the outside distractions get to you," he said. "I just calmed myself and got into my focus point and at the very last second, I saw (Daniel Mendes) open his hips a little bit and fortunately it was in my range and I was able to push it past the post."

In penalty kicks, Minnesota shot one over the top and had another go off the goal post.

STLFC played a solid first half, relying on patience and possession to control the game's pace. The home team had the half's only four corners and created a few decent semi-chances on free kicks around the Minnesota penalty area.

After the scoreless first half, STLFC had a great chance less than three minutes after the break. …

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