St. Louis City SC return to CityPark on Saturday to face arguably the best team in MLS (well, they have the most points; that counts for something, right?). But after two straight losses – and more than 180 minutes without a goal – questions and concerns are swirling around the club. Well, okay, maybe not “swirling”.
Maybe they’re just sort of “floating” around the club. You know, like mosquitos on a sweltering July day in a South City bar whose air conditioning is broken. Regardless, there are some truths that the team – and their fans – ought to come to terms with before the whistle blows in St. Louis on Saturday or they’ll face some consequences they’d rather not experience. Here are three:
St. Louis City Lost the Previous Two Games as They Face FC Cincinnati
Just Because You Won Your First Five Doesn’t Mean You’re Arsenal
A few weeks back, half of Gateway City was thinking that their new team might just be invincible. You may say that’s nuts, but remember, this is a city that sent its hockey team to the Stanley Cup Finals in its inaugural season. A city whose football team won its first Super Bowl with a quarterback who had been bagging groceries a few years earlier. A city with the second most World Series championships in the majors. So, you know, it’s not crazy for them to think that something crazy might happen.
But it didn’t. St. Louis lost to the Loons in a heartbreaker and then they got stomped by the Sounders, and now they’re lining up against a team that’s on a four-game winning streak while they’re reeling from back-to-back losses. That’s the nature of MLS, isn’t it? But look, a lot of teams win a lot of titles and don’t go undefeated on their way to doing it. In fact, nearly all of them do. So St. Louis lost. Big deal. As coach Bradley Carnell said after the MUFC match, “We’re not superhuman.” Frankly, it’s a measure of your success that you actually have to say something like that in a press conference.
Just Because You Lost Your Next Three Doesn’t Mean You Suck.
— St Louis CITY SC (@stlCITYsc) April 9, 2023
Perhaps the readers would think this is premature.
“St. Louis lost twice and you’re throwing in the towel?” one might say. “Why are you conceding an entirely winnable match?” But that’s not the point. The point is that even if St. Louis lost to FC Cincinnati on Saturday, they are still a very good team. The fact that they will have taken losses in successive weeks against teams that are top of the Western Conference and top of the Eastern Conference, respectively, doesn’t change that. Speaking of which, do you know to happen to know, off-hand, who else has even faced the top teams in each conference yet (when they were top of their respective tables)? That’s right; nobody. Nobody but St. Louis City SC, that is. So the fact that St. Louis lost to Seattle Sounders and FC Cincinnati in successive weeks, while painful, should not be blown out of proportion.
Just Because You’re Lucky Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Also Be Good.
You can hear it now, can’t you? “St. Louis City were just lucky! Teams kept making mistakes and handing the games to them! They were never as good as their record, and now that teams aren’t being stupid, they’re losing.” Perhaps. A lot of teams are lucky and when their luck runs out, they’re revealed to be the Cinderellas they really were all along.
On the other hand, lots of teams make mistakes in games and they don’t turn into goals. And lots of teams make mistakes that do turn into goals but that don’t cost them the game. Indeed, there’s a word for a side that is able to turn their opponents’ errors into actual Ws. And to do it five times in a row. And that word is “quality”.
Saturday, April 15, at Citypark; 7:30 Central, 8:30 Eastern
— St Louis CITY SC (@stlCITYsc) April 13, 2023
Right now, DraftKings has the money line bet at +135 for St. Louis City SC, and +180 for FC Cincinnati (+235 for a draw) which feels like a polite way of saying they don’t know what’s gonna happen either. And the news that the Garys will be shipping Brenner to Italy this summer isn’t making any of it any clearer. But here’s a fun fact: if St. Louis City do win on Saturday, and Seattle loses (which, okay, not likely), not only will they be top of the western conference again, they’ll be the best team in MLS again.
And that’s a hard truth everyone in St. Louis will be happy to face.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports on April 8, 2023, of Nicholas Gioacchini’s Headshot.
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