Musings on the FC Dallas Match: Drawing a Blank


by Jason Goodbody

From possession percentage to expected goals (xG) to accurate passes, to sheer moxie* St Louis SC CITY dominated all possible measurables against bottom dweller FC Dallas Saturday night. Well, all measurables with the exception of balls in net and the most important of all, a win. Despite the 0-0 result Saturday night, it was an exciting game that featured the return of attacking midfielder Rasmus Alm to the starting lineup and an ever-improving Anthony Markanich and Sam Adeniran subbing on to deliver an offensive spark 20 minutes later than we all would have liked.

Possession is nine-tenths of however that saying goes

CITY's style of play begs to cede possession to the other team and create opportunities off of pressing, countering, and then direct attacks (aka long balls to Big Sam). Dallas decided to settle into their defensive third and force CITY into an "indirect style of attack" requiring them to build, possess, penetrate and score….a style of play that CITY begs not to have to play. The building, the possessing, and the penetrating parts went so well that it would seem CITY was flustered into forgetting the scoring part.

Shots shots shots shots shots shots

CITY leads the MLS in touches in the opposition penalty box, which means it finds itself in scoring position a lot, taking a blazing 27 shots in this last game alone. St Louis is also amongst the worst in shooting "on goal" when gauged as a percentage of total shots "roughly towards the goal" with an accurate shooting percentage of a lowly 33% (7th worst in MLS). This means we unsurprisingly lead the league in exclamations of "oh God, Klauss would have totally made that last year" and third in "can we have back that striker we sold off prior to the season?".

Draws aren't all bad

The scoreless draw Saturday night allowed Dallas to escape with what they would likely consider a good tie, leaving CITY to settle for a terrible, horrible, very bad tie.

It will forever be interesting how tie games feel so different depending on the circumstances. To date, St Louis CITY SC is 1-1-5. Also to date, no one is joining me on my mission to revamp the traditional W(in)-L(ose)-D(raw) to W-L-GD-BD-RD giving us a more accurate record of 1 win, 1 loss, 2 good ties, 3 bad ties, and 0 regular ties.

Draws may prove to be the end of us

After 7 games into the season, CITY is among 9 teams exiting this weekend with only 1 loss, an exalted list that includes reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus and Supporters' Shield standings leader New York Red Bulls. In cruel contrast, St Louis is also among a list of 8 teams with a single solitary victory, made painfully clear by an imagined Venn diagram with CITY as its sole occupier of both circles, Incidentally, this 1-win-bunch includes 2023 season powerhouses like Seattle, Orlando, Nashville, and New England, each getting off to a slow start and no doubt wondering which among them will eventually find itself in resurgence.

CITY also finds itself in its own teeny tiny circle of teams (just one team) with 5 draws this season, the same number it had last season after 34 games. In its 2023 inaugural season, CITY was able to be definitively good or clearly awful from game to game. Kicking off its sophomore season, CITY has been able to perform at resoundingly meh levels, eliciting concerns from way-too-early prognosticators and sky-is-falling fans that St Louis CITY SC may find itself missing the playoffs despite potentially having lost the least amount of games in recorded MLS history. Not a certificate to put in the trophy case in the new St Louis CITY SC headquarters on Clark Ave.

Scattershot Musings

  • Four to five hype songs into the pregame festivities and even this un-initiated musical dullard knew something was up. Then, St Louis icon and hip hop/R&B superstar Nelly came out to deliver the game ball, rile up the fans, wave a big supporters flag, and make me realize that, sure....that's who I was thinking about the whole time.

  • Sam Adeniran turns a corner, runs past several defenders, and sends a shot on a likely beaten keeper only to have his ball skip wide of the post to the audible groans of the CITYPARK crowd. Mad Lib this in several different ways replacing player names, nouns and verbs only slightly and it will perfectly and repeatedly describe this maddening game (crowd reaction remaining a constant).

  • Roman Bürki wins Man of the Match and deservedly so. Without some of his heroic saves, imagine trying to reconcile the statistical and clear obvious dominance on the field with a 0-2 loss. Shudder

  • CITY has been without its Parker-Nilsson-Löwen triad for some time now. Each has of course seen the field without the other(s) and no one player or combination of players should determine how well the team performs. A mature squad with playable depth can weather these storms. A new squad needs reps to figure out how best to fill gaps. It may take some time to get there. Fortunately there are 27 games left and seasons ahead of us.

  • If it makes you feel better, Sporting Kansas started out slow last year having not won a match until their 11th game of the season and first weekend in May. They then made a late season run to eventually make the playoffs and beat the number 1 team in the Western Conf—nevermind.

  • If it makes you feel better x2, Sporting Kansas just blew a 3 goal halftime lead against the Portland Timbers. There, I'll leave you with that.

See you next time.  #AllForCITY

Check out musings from the Real Salt Lake match. 

Photos courtesy of St Louis City SC and Jason Patrylo