CITY SC Weekly Presser Report


By Matt Baker

*In this new (possibly regular?) series by Matt Baker - he'll bring us stories, his thoughts, quotes and more from the weekly press conferences held by St. Louis CITY SC*.

You could tell immediately that this was a different kind of week. Sure, it was a Wednesday and the press conferences are usually Thursday as well as the club having just come off a Sunday night/Monday morning match with another on the horizon Thursday evening - but there was a certain gravitas about the pre-game press conference held by St. Louis CITY SC this week.

It wasn't just being in a first of its' kind tournament between two top flights in two different countries, and I don't believe it was just the notion that this next match up really is 'win or go home'. It was more simple than that. It was who they would be lining up against on Thursday night at 9pm at CITYPARK: Club América.

"Club América is such a big name in the world as well as the CONCACAF region so for us it's almost like a bucket list moment," said head Coach Bradley Carnell. "One thing we won't do is be here to participate and pick up jerseys after the game."

Club América is quite simply, the most decorated team in Mexico. Founded in 1916, they play in the national stadium of Mexico, the Estadio Azteca, and they have a combined 35 trophies to their name between national and international competitions including 13 league titles and 7 CONCACAF Champions League/Cup trophies.

Recent success has eluded them though, with their last trophy raised back in 2019. This tournament too, will see a Club América side with a new head coach Andre Jardine, some new players and having just started their Liga MX season, so how will they respond? Coach Carnell said they have a good idea.

"They have a couple of new faces but the good thing is the majority of their squad remains the same. Klauss worked with Andre Jardine at some point in their careers, so we got some good pointers there from Klauss and we had two games to see what they've done."

Coming off their 2-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew, there are lessons learned that could prove valuable for Carnell's side, as both the Columbus Crew and Club América are tops in their respective leagues in goal scored, possession of the ball, and volume of short passes attempted and completed. Because there are so many similarities between the Crew and Club América, all of Bradley Carnell, Jared Stroud, and Tim Parker noted multiple ways in which they may benefit from their match against the Crew.

"There are a lot of things that could transition from the Columbus game into this game. Teams that value the ball, teams that play short passes, want to lure you in, play around and though you." Carnell went on to say, "They have a very controlled midfield with Jonathan Dos Santos and are very fluid over the wings as well. They push their fullbacks up high and are a tricky opponent but we've proven that against ball playing teams we can do really well against."

From Jared Stroud, "A little bit of that style where they want to keep the ball, spread the field out, super technical & not afraid to have the field spread out. They trust each other and {Club America} are pretty similar to Columbus. There are maybe a couple teams in MLS that play like that. Columbus, Austin, some of those teams are like that. Expect something similar if not more technical players."

From Tim Parker, "I thought the backline did a really good job of shifting over. Columbus's three attackers do a really good job of just floating around…so if we're able to be aggressive and step into those spaces when they are floating instead of just giving them those spaces, that's going to be big for us against Club América."

The reality of this match though, is that St. Louis has to take at least 2 points from this matchup in order to have a chance to move on, and with the tiebreakers the way they are in Leagues Cup, they likely need to score two goals in regulation also, and their Round of 32 berth is all but secure.

With this game being that 'win or go home' for St. Louis, there is a balance known by staff, players, and fans alike between getting time off to recuperate for the stretch MLS Cup run and knowing that this is another opportunity for cup glory. But while both may be on everyone's minds, but there is one clear goal for St. Louis CITY SC and Jared Stroud cut right to that on Wednesday.

"Anytime there's silverware on the line, I've seen the trophy and it's big, right? It's something we would love to lift, love to bring back here. There's a huge money prize and we obviously want to win. So as players, any time we come to a competition it would be nice to win the first trophy for St. Louis and it's an opportunity."