St. Louis CITY SC stepped up their expansion team game development as the team shut out Sporting Kansas City on May 20 at home.
Most expansion teams take at least a few years to get competitive and stay there. St. Louis CITY SC did that in their first season, leading to this 4-0 shutout of Sporting Kansas City.
St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Burki had his best game yet. His six saves gave him five MLS games with five-or-more thing him for most in the league. It’s his third clean sheet of the year.
Burki was helped to his clean sheet with a stellar backline while St. Louis CITY worked from their comfortable 4-2-3-1 starting formation. To help preserve the shutout, they shifted to a 4-4-2 for the second half.
This game strategy didn’t hamper CITY from creating chances and finishing them. Midfielder Jared Stroud completed five key passes, a single-game franchise high. He also became the fourth CITY player to record a multi-assist game across all competitions with his two in this match.
The strategy keeps players focused on relentless attacks and proves two things. The first proven thing is that they can create remarkable performances on the pitch, even while forward Joao Klauss isn’t playing. The second is that not all the elements of their game strategy earlier in the season are wrong for them now.
That’s even though they hadn’t won at home since beating FC Cincinnati in April.
St. Louis CITY’s earlier game strategy allowed them to focus on the attack while giving up possession. That means completely trusting their backline and goalkeeper. And that resulted in this latest shutout.
CITY finished this match under 34% in possession. Yet they bested the visitors in tackles 33-13.
Even while on their losing streak, St. Louis stayed true to their original basic strategy. That kept lanes open for completed scoring chances by Niko Gioacchini plus a penalty by Eduard Lowen, and two goals by Indiana Vassilev. Tomas Ostrak assisted on the 75th-minute score.
Such a strategy has kept St. Louis near the top of the MLS Western Conference. They’re now in third place, right behind Los Angeles FC and Seattle Sounders.
For an expansion squad to achieve this much in their first season, the St. Louis coaching staff and front office had to concoct a unique game plan. Then they had to sign the players who could execute it.
It’s a hyper-attack game strategy that the established teams don’t use. Yet every player on the St. Louis CITY squad believes in it, even while enduring a brief losing streak.
They’re making it work.