Post Match Musings on Real Salt Lake: An Opening Day Draw


by Jason Goodbody

Real Salt Lake is not a bad team despite the drubbing they took by Miami (MLS's version of superband Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) in the season opener just a few days ago. By all accounts, they are a middling MLS team, picked to finish 8th to 20th by a range of "experts", which is about where CITY is expected to be at despite last year's record-setting inaugural season. 

I've seen CITY ranked anywhere between 4th and 28th which shows you how much uncertainty and parity there can be in professional soccer. Correction, the "anyone can beat anyone" parity exhibited in professional soccer leagues that aren't Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Series A, the French Ligue 1, Spain's LaLiga, the English Premier League, the Dutch Eredivisie, Brazil's Série A, the Portuguese Primeira Liga, the Turkish SüperLig, etc, etc, etc. In Europe, "parity" isn't so much an inherent balance of talent and likelihood to be competitive, but rather sounds more like a type of cheese found on an antipasto board, I think. 

All that to say that a 1-1 draw isn't great but isn't awful.

Adeniran Delivers

The highlight of the game and the equalizer came from Sam Adeniran after subbing in for João Klauss at 67'. Eduard Löwen apparently was growing frustrated with CITY's lack of buildup of a relevant attack and their poor success rate on connected passes (64% - this is not a good number) and must have finally exclaimed "ach du lieber!" and in "I should have just tried this earlier" fashion, sent the ball up the field to where we all know Sam Adeniran could get to it. Big Sam proceeded to body RSL defender Brayan Vera on his run, beat him on the turn, maneuver to the top of the goalbox, and send the ball past keeper Zac MacMath. A relieved Löwen then must've said "alright, I'm back" —likely in German— and Adeniran may have said the same in any one of the 4 of 5 languages he speaks.

Let's do more of that.

Alm remains out

Rasmus Alm was expected to be an offensive spark this year and remains sidelined while recovering from hernia surgery. Coach Bradley Carnell says he's dealing with "other things" which are delaying his return. This means the fanbase can expect Alm to return to play in about a Klauss. If you recall from last season, a "Klauss" was determined by soccer scientists to be an frustratingly indeterminate length of time, characterized as having the expectation of lasting "just a few weeks" and turning out to be much much longer. Healthy returns Alm. CITY's final third misses you.


This week we saw much movement but no resolution to the US Open Cup impasse. For those unfamiliar the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the oldest team tournament in US sports history and is open (see where the name comes from?) to all professional and amateur soccer teams in the US to determine a true national champion.

I won't get into the backstory on how this all came to be as there are others far more informed on the subject than I am. Just do a Google search on "doesn't MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's voting members care about the history of soccer in the US, the USOC's clear contribution to expanding the popularity of the sport and its future, and the obvious solutions to resolve this problem?"

What we also saw was a collective rallying in support of the historic tournament from across the country and even more so from the fanbase here in St Louis. The St Louis soccer community has a close connection to this tournament given its historic dominance contributing to St Louis being deemed as America's First Soccer Capital (trademark pending) and have been exceedingly vocal in its support of MLS's continued involvement in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The supporters group community honored St Louis' long history in the cup by leading the always-epic pregame march with banners commemorating all 10 St. USOC championship teams over the ages. Would be a shame if we can't continue all this.   #SaveUSOpenCup

Replacement referees

For those of you who may have noticed absolutely zero distinguishable difference in the quality of refereeing during this game along with other MLS matches this week and what we have typically seen, it can be attributed to a referee lockout by the MLS and the league's referee employment organization after the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) overwhelmingly rejected their employment contract. So while this gets worked out, games will be officiated by referees from semiprofessional leagues, college soccer, and maybe even parents of players asked to hold a yellow flag and run the sideline with the unearned confidence we've come to appreciate over our collective SCYSA, SLYSA, and CYC experiences.

Again. I won't get into the backstory of this dispute as there are others far more knowledgeable on this. Just Google search "what is VAR and why can't it resolve this labor dispute between the professional referee union and the MLS who can't seem to get out of their own way and continue to mismanage the game we love?"

Lutz extends his contract

If you look at Lutz Pfannenstiel's long and winding career on his Wikipedia page you can scroll down —keep scrolling…keeeeep scrolling…one more page— and you'll see he has spent time with 27 teams over his 20 year career. Given his nomadic ways, it was quite a coup for Carolyn and Diego and the leadership team to secure him to a contract that keeps him through 2026. Lutz had made it no secret that he looks to be a part of something special and it appears that over two decades he hadn't quite found what he was looking for so he decided to just go ahead and built it from scratch. We are thankful he is in building mode and laying down some roots.

Scattershot Musings

  • That Saint Louis CITY Punks-sponsored-Beastie Boys-accompanied stadium card display was fire. Well done Punks. Well done.

  • That pre-game flame display was also fire, literally. Let's get about 5 more of those and set them up around the stadium…at least until springtime.

  • We've discussed and argued over whether ties are good and which ties are bad. A point is a point and better than zero points. If you remember we split home and away blowouts with Real Salt Lake in 2023 and so I hope things aren't averaging out and we foresee ties with this team from now to forever.

  • Totland continues to impress. Nilsson looked good in his first game back and after his green card adventure. Durkin is earning more time. Can't wait to see what Nikolas Dyhr can bring at left back but Anthony Markanich seems to be holding onto that position tightly with decent play. Thórisson seems to be progressing but needs to justify his minutes with some inspired play.

See you next time.  #AllForCITY

Check out musings from the Houston CONCACAF match. 

Photos courtesy of St Louis City SC, Jason Goodbody and Jason Patrylo