St. Louis CITY SC attacking midfielder Aziel Jackson is the creative artist that manager Bradley Carnell needs in his latest lineup.
After the recent 2-0 shutout of Colorado Rapids, St. Louis CITY manager Bradley Carnell told media his latest two-striker lineup included a creative artist directly behind them. The two strikers were Sam Adeniran and Niko Gioacchini.
That leaves the artist position belonging to midfielder Aziel Jackson.
He earned that position with a playing style suited perfectly for it. He keeps up with Carnell’s running strikers while choosing any open lane for his counterattack threat. He’s known for one-touch passes while running to the goal.
Whenever opponents step toward him on the pitch, he works around them with explosive force.
That’s why Jackson became one of the players sought before St. Louis played their first MLS match. They were building the team out from the midfield. That’s the source of their strategy that’s won them – a first-season expansion squad – first place in the MLS Western Conference.
Jackson’s story starts at age 13 in the Red Bulls Academy. By age 16, he answered the call to join Toulouse FC in France, where he became their first American player for the next two seasons.
After a couple of seasons with an amateur club in the U.S., he trained with the Seattle Sounders FC. But by 1981 the word was out among scouts. Minnesota United FC bought his rights from the Red Bulls. With MNUFC2 he soon became a league leader in key passes and scoring chances.
In MLS NEXT Pro, he won Best XI honors in 2022.
Now with the top St. Louis club, he’s dramatically improved through his opportunities for minutes. This resulted in his best game yet during the recent 2-0 win by St. Louis. By the end of the match, he tallied an assist, four tackles, three dribbles, and a dispossession.
Holding onto what he learned from the beginning, he also got off three key passes, a total of 36.
After all scouting reports were in, Jackson had posted the best-ever performance on the pitch.
Tight spaces to work in don’t intimidate Jackson. He’s as effective in a goalmouth scramble in an open lane. With that talent – identified early by the St. Louis front office – he’s earned more starts to come behind the team’s fast strikers.
St. Louis CITY SC is headed far into the MLS post-season with the team’s success in recruiting a roster for Carnell’s game strategy. Aziel Jackson will remain a key factor as a starter.