MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The 901 FC held on to secure a 0-0 draw at Saint Louis FC, despite a red card in the 25th minute.
Saint Louis had 64% possession with 15 shots, two on target but failed to test the Memphis backline.
Head coach Tim Mulqueen gave the three newly acquired players their first start of the season.
Forward, Marcus Epps was subbed on in the first match while Pierre Da Silva and Liam Doyle earned their first caps in the 901 FC kit.
Da Silva immediately displayed his ability by completing his first two dribbles, creating one-two opportunities and generating the 901 FC’s only first half shot on target, 16 minutes in.
The rest of the team was also playing well as momentum was on Memphis’ side up until the 25-minute mark.
Catastrophe struck, with 20 minutes to play in the first half. Midfielder, Cameron Lindley attempted to regain possession in Saint Louis’ half with a slide tackle on Collin Fernandez. He flew in with no intention to harm Fernandez. However, due to the studs up tackle, head official Jon Freemon issued Lindley a red card.
Tim Mulqueen’s men would have to survive the final 65 minutes a man down, so the formation and tactics were drastically altered.
Mulqueen began the match with a standard 4-2-2 formation in possession and when defending. The formation would then shift to a 4-2-3-1 as Memphis broke out on the break. After the red
card, Mulqueen switched to a 4-4-1 formation, which does not allow for much offensive creativity.
The outlook looked grim, but the 901 FC held strong for the remaining 20 minutes of the first half.
Saint Louis struggled to create anything of substance in the final third as the first half concluded at 0-0.
Mulqueen opted to sub on the physically dominate Ewan Grandison for Da Silva, at the start of the second half, for defensive purposes.
Adem Najem won a freekick early on in the first half, which led to a shot from Epps.
Memphis continued to put pressure on Saint Louis, despite the man disadvantage.
Saint Louis nearly broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute.
Fullback, Wes Charpie took a heavy touch inside the 901 FC’s box and Russell Cicerone took advantage of the sloppy play and forced Jeff Caldwell to make a save.
The match slowed for the next 15 minutes as the 901 FC packed numbers back and opted to defend.
Saint Louis lacked creativity throughout the match in the final third and never really threatened to score for the rest of the match.
The best chance of the match came through Ewan Grandison in the 73rd minute.
The big man took a touch and unleashed a rising shot from 25 yards out that was narrowly tipped over the bar by goalkeeper, Tomas Gomez.
Najem and the rest of the team did well to see out the final 15 minutes by winning freekicks and keeping possession.
The 0-0 result is not what the team needed at this point in the season, but to keep the opposition scoreless after an early red card is very difficult.
The next match is on August 10, at AutoZone Park, against North Carolina FC.
Written by: Caleb Hilliard