St. Louis CITY SC: Creating destiny vs. FC Cincinnati

St. Louis CITY SC didn’t quite make it a week out of first place. This past week at home they bested FC Cincinnati 5-1 and got back on top.

After St. Louis CITY SC finished off FC Cincinnati 5-1 at home on April 15, they’re back in first place MLS Western Conference and the Supporters Shield. So they fell out of first place MLS Western Conference less than a full week.

Unlike shocked opponents earlier this season, Cincinnati prepared for more than the typical first-season expansion team when they arrived in St. Louis. After all, Cincinnati had been one of those confused and hapless squads for their first seasons.

Yet, at the half, CITY was shutting out FC 3-0.

St. Louis kept up offensive pressure out of their 4-4-2 formation. FC shifted out of their starting 3-4-1-2 in the second half to match their substitutions.

Cincinnati went on the road suffering in roster depth due to injury and a pending transfer. Yet the visitor should have looked better in this match but didn’t.

After their second consecutive loss the previous week, St. Louis head coach Bradley Carnell explained they would practice improved passing and consistently carry out the winning style of play that began their season.

But FC Cincinnati coaches and scouts didn’t listen.

Passing accuracy did improve to 68.9%, vs. 75.5% for Cincinnati. As for the style of play, they more than doubled up the visitors with 15 tackles won and six blocked shots to FC’s three.

While this style allowed FC Cincinnati to best the home team on possession percentage, it forced defensive errors.

CARSON CALIFORNIA, CA – JANUARY 21: Roman Celentano. (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

This erupted in a 57th-minute Own Goal by FC keeper Roman Celentano. A long shot by CITY midfielder Rasmus Alm hit the left post, ricocheted off Celentano’s body, and shot into the net.

FC’s second-half substitutions played competently according to scouting reports. Yet no one had an answer for anyone on the home squad. That failure is in spite of a 62nd-minute goal by Cincinnati striker Sergio Santos.

All but one of CITY’s front six either scored or assisted. And the third goal came from defender Kyle Hiebert in first-half stoppage time.

No MLS team this season has had more comprehensive, concentrated involvement from every player on the pitch.

Carnell said that synergy resulted in applying pressure and havoc on FC Cincinnati. While their overall successful passing percentage was better, CITY broke up enough of their key passes to edge them 11-10.

They also edged FC on aerials winning 18-16.

Yet it’s the havoc factor that Carnell described that is the only explanation for the final result. That explains it, and what Carnell describes as creating their own destiny.

They’ll keep creating their destiny when they travel to play Colorado Rapids next matchday.