The Ambush kick off the season with a solid core of returning players, more offensive firepower, a solidified midfield, a stingy defensive unit and experience in the goal. On paper, the Ambush have the potential to outscore most of the league and are arguably one of the most improved teams in the MASL.
Chicago finished with an 11-9 record last season, then went 1-2 in the playoffs. St. Louis finished 8-12 and did not make the playoffs. The Ambush and Mustangs squared off three times last season. The Mustangs won two of those contests. The two teams are slated to square off three times this season; twice at the Family Arena and once in Chicago. Saturday's match is the third of the season for the Mustangs, who come to town with a 1-1 record, having defeated the Milwaukee Wave October 31 and lost to the Baltimore Blast on November 7.
The most notable off-season moves for the Ambush were the addition of forward Freddy Moojen, who had 39 goals and 13 assists for Dallas last season, and midfielder Lucas Almeida, who tallied 23 goals and 19 assists for Tulsa last season. Forward Gordy Gurson, who the Ambush acquired in a trade in January, has also re-signed for the coming season. Gurson scored 46 goals and 18 assists on this way to capturing the 2014-15 MASL Rookie of the Year honor. These three give the Ambush something they didn't have in the previous two seasons and that is three players who are each capable of scoring 20 or more goals.
In the nets for the Ambush are two goalkeepers new to the team. Marcelo Moreira played 15 season of outdoor soccer in his native Brazil, and has two season of professional indoor experience with the Syracuse Silver Knights and Rochester Lancers. Goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa appeared in 15 regular season games for the Seattle Impact and Ontario Fury during the 2014-15 season. He also turned in a stellar performance in his one playoff contest with the Fury, a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Las Vegas Legends on March 1.
Returning players for the Ambush include:
- Midfielder Cody Costakis, returning for his second season with the team.
- Forward Kory Dowell, back for his third season with the Ambush.
- Defenders Chris Mattingly and Chad Vandegriffe (who finished second and third in the league, respectively, in blocks last season and who are both coming back for their third season with St. Louis.
- Jeff DiMaria, back for his eighth season, moves from midfield to defense.
- Forward Elvir Kafedzic, a veteran of eight professional indoor soccer seasons who is back for his third with the Ambush.
- Richard Schmermund, moving from defender to forward this season, returns for his third season with the team.
- Forward Odaine Sinclair, the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, is back for his third season with the Ambush.
- The speedy Emanuel Forbes had his rookie season with the Ambush cut short by a torn LCL on January 3. Forbes is recovered and moves from midfield to forward for 2015-16.
- Midfielder Anthony Arico started his rookie season with Milwaukee and was acquired by the Ambush in a February 1 trade.
- Ross MacGregor moves from forward to defender for his second season with the Ambush.
- Forward Blake Ordell returns for his fifth professional indoor season, his second with St. Louis.
The Ambush also have considerable depth this season with a talented reserve roster that should provide more options if player moves become necessary after the season gets underway.
At the helm of the Ambush is one of the most experienced coaching duos in professional soccer. Head Coach Daryl Doran returns for his fourteenth season as head coach of a St. Louis professional indoor soccer team and Assistant Coach Joe Smugala is back for his third season with the Ambush and his fifth overall.
The Ambush take to the field riding the momentum of five consecutive wins. They were triumphant in their final three games of the 2014-15 regular season, then defeated Cedar Rapids in pre-season duels on October 3 at the Family Arena, then again on October 30 in Cedar Rapids. The Ambush hope to continue that streak when they open the 2015-16 regular season against the Chicago Mustangs on Saturday, November 14 at 4:35 p.m. at the Family Arena.
Season, group and single game tickets are now on sale for all ten home games. Call the Ambush office at 636-477-6363 for more information. Keep up with Ambush news anytime by visiting the team's official web site, www.stlouisambush.com, the Ambush Facebook page, www.facebook.com/stlouisambush, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/stlouisambush.
About the St. Louis Ambush
The St. Louis Ambush are members of the Major Arena Soccer League, with 20 teams for the 2015-16 season. Ambush ownership is 100% local and all home games are played at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO.