Musings on the Austin FC Match: What We Learned Over Our Summer Break
by Jason Goodbody
Musings from an amateur professional soccer fan
Welcome!!! It is so good to have you all back from summer break. You've all gotten so big!!
I see we've all recovered from that dust up in July against that Mexican team and those boys from Columbus and now we get back to league play.
Let's talk about what's been going on.
So, this Messi character seems to be fitting in quite well with his buddies from FC Barcelona. He and his Super Friends Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba won the League's Cup tourney vs Nashville in one of the best MSL-ish games this year. We don't have to talk about him again for at least a little bit.
St Louis CITY 2 games were still happening. And with that, Columbia, Missouri native Johnny Klein has been on a scoring tear and is tied for 5th most goals in the MLS NEXT Pro league. In a match vs Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake's #2 team), where it seemed half of CITY fans felt an urge to attend to get their professional soccer fix, the team set the MLS development league's attendance record with 9,489 fans. This indeed is the Soccer Capital.
In the time since we last spoke, CITY has finally filled its roster, adding one-time Icelandic National Team and former Belgian First Division B forward Nökkvi Thòrisson and Colorado Rapids defender Anthony Markanich. At the young age of 23, and an entire career ahead of them, both will be a constant reminder of how youth is wasted on the....er young, or something like that. Trying to remember what I was doing at 23.
St Louis CITY returns: We have been fully Re-Sweded
This heat. The air was molten. At game start, my watch said that it was 92° but the "feels like" temperature said "what are you doing outside?" I wrung my sweat-drenched CITY-branded cooling towel out a dozen times, I'm sure.
Thinking about this game, there was always risk that an early League's Cup exit would take CITY off form but I had a good feeling that this time off would do the team some good. In my sweet summer child-like naive optimism, I even thought Klauss would be back. I know. So silly of me. More on that later.
They say history doesn't repeat itself but it certainly rhymes and CITY dropped some sweet sweeeet melodic bars on Austin FC in the form of a 6-3 drubbing. Parker got his second header score against Austin FC, Löwen is who served it to him, again. And we scored off another Austin defensive brain fart.
Incidentally, CITY is undefeated when opposing defenses inadvertently pass the ball to them for a score. That needs to be a play we execute more often. "Number 4, fellas. Let's run number 4!!"
If you hadn't noticed, the Boys in Red have been going through a bit of a funk, a drought if you will. Most of our goals this summer have come from set pieces; penalty kicks, free kicks, corner kicks. Which is fine, especially when the Löwen Set Piece is serving up the hits. But what we've been missing is scoring during what the football aficionados call "open play". And that's why the soccer nerds have been so hangry for several months. So when CITY scored one open play goal after another, that's why you heard that deep collective exhale. In fact, the last 5 open play goals occurred only as recently as July 8 vs Toronto by AZ Jackson, Stroud against Colorado the previous game on July 1, Gioacchini vs Real Salt Lake on June 21, Gioacchini vs Nashville on June 17 (although that was from a first touch from Alm off a Vassilev corner so a sorta pseudo set piece), and before that, Miggy Perez against Vancouver on May 27. Guys, the team was hungry and it ate well at the Austin FC Golden Corral buffet this last game.
This game we were witness to the emergence of center back Joakim "The Gripen" Nilsson who finally returned from pre-season knee surgery. So that means, and I've been waiting to say this since the beginning of the season, we have been fully re-Sweded with Nilsson joining Alm in the lineup. But that's not all. With the addition of Thòrisson and our having the young Danish winger Isaiah Jensen on the team, there is an overabundance of Nordic presence, sure to earn us the blessings of the Norse All-Father giving us victory over our foes and allowing us to stand atop a mountain of enemy corpses—- Whoa. That got dark. Sorry. We are in good shape is what I'm saying.
So as mentioned before, we were witness to another Löwen Set Piece. I'm all for continuing to let Edu Löwen bounce the ball off of his teammate's heads into the goal. It's the right play. Also, and I will not relent on this point, The Löwen Set Piece is a great name for a yet-to-be-formed-but-must-happen German thrash metal-jazz fusion band. Fleur de Noise members. Please make this happen.
João Klauss has yet to return, being forever "just a few weeks away". Soccer scientists have now deemed a Klauss as a unit of time, one that is mysteriously variable and unknown but still longer than expected.
There were so many great moments last night; Gioacchini's two-fer, Big Sam Adeniran's two-fer, Tim's header and fourth goal off of four attempts this season, Tomàs Ostràk's scramble goal, and The Gripen and Son of Thor's debut. What a night.
Until next time. #AllForCity