CITY vs Dynamo: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


By Cole Sutton

Just like that, St. Louis City has been bounced from yet another cup competition. The search for the club's first-ever trophy will continue as late Tuesday night, City fell to the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the second leg, losing on away goals. The loss was a tough one to swallow for supporters as St. Louis' first Concacaf Champions Cup run comes to an end in just the first round. Before we fully turn our attention to Saturday night's league matchup against NYCFC at CITYPARK, let's recap the good, the bad & the ugly from Tuesday's defeat.

The Good

Roman Burki

  • Burki was the sole reason City was in the game until the final whistle. With injuries popping up left and right on the backline along with a failure to create in the final third, the captain was front and center in the efforts to advance into the next round of the Champions Cup. The former Dortmund netminder saved 4 of 5 shots on goal, including a miraculous double save at 33' to keep Houston off the scoresheet. The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has saved 6 of 9 SOG in the first three games of the year. Burki's consistent play between the posts will (obviously) have a massive impact on City's results throughout the lengthy MLS season that comes with plenty of ups and downs.

Michael Wentzel

  • Wentzel was called up via a short-term loan from CITY2 on Monday after knocks to Tim Parker and Josh Yaro tested City's defensive depth to begin the season. The German center-back was a huge part of CITY2's playoff push in 2023, playing in all 29 matches. Wentzel also got some experience with the first team in the pre-season, appearing in both camps and all five matches. 21-year-old Wentzel showed he deserves to be a part of City's defensive group going forward, posting the second-highest passing percentage of any player who played a full 90 minutes in his first-team debut, trailing only Jake Nerwinski. We may see more of the youngster than originally expected, especially with Joakim Nilsson exiting the second-leg matchup against Houston just before halftime with yet another injury.

Honorable Mention: Rest

  • It's never a good thing to be booted out of a cup competition in the first round, but clearing out the schedule a bit will be much needed for City. Including the upcoming NYCFC clash, the Boys in Red will have played four games in 12 days. No mid-week games in the near future will allow ample time for players to rest between MLS league matchups, hopefully helping with not only the number of injuries but the quality of play as well.

The Bad

Tomas Ostrak

  • Ostrak was one of the more intriguing City signings when the initial roster was released, but the 24-year-old has failed to make a solid impact at the club since his arrival. With only three MLS goals in 30 appearances (13 starts, 1143 minutes) you'd have to go back to the 8/20/23 matchup against Austin to find Ostrak's last appearance on the scoresheet. After earning a start in both Champions Cup legs, the Czech Republic native did very little to make a name for himself and possibly steal a spot in the starting XI. The lack of creativity from Ostrak and the rest of the midfield has been a glaring issue, though only through three games, and will very likely be a point of emphasis from Bradley Carnell in the upcoming training sessions.

The Ugly

Attacking Play

  • The first three games of the young season have left plenty of supporters a bit frustrated, especially creatively in the attacking third. St. Louis has scored three goals in as many games, which on the surface doesn't sound too bad. However, the eye test tells a different story. While City have continued to put shots on goal (13 in three games) you can't help but feel frustrated when watching their attacking build-up. The Boys in Red have posted the lower passing accuracy percentage in all three matchups and just look flat when trying to attack the opposition. Apart from Sam Adeniran, the club has desperately lacked clinical finishing and an eye for goal so far in 2024. Hopefully, with a full-strength starting XI on Saturday, we can see City get back to that exciting, attacking football we all fell in love with last season.

Looking Ahead

Now that City has been eliminated from the Champions Cup, it allows the club to focus solely on league results & prioritize winning an MLS Cup in their second season. The next cup competition for St. Louis will be the Leagues Cup (#SaveTheUSOC) which kicks off in late July. Meanwhile, the Boys in Red will have the chance to win their first MLS game of the season this Saturday when NYCFC visits CITYPARK for the first time. New York dropped their only game played in the new campaign, losing on the road against Charlotte FC by a score of 1-0.