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Match Day 32: St. Louis City vs. Sporting Kansas City

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

After splitting the first two meetings, Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis City met for a third time in St. Louis with plenty on the line for both teams. Kansas City desperately needed a positive result to keep their playoff hopes alive. Meanwhile, St. Louis City, having already clinched a playoff appearance in their inaugural year, looked to maintain their push for the top spot in the Western Conference. In decisive fashion, St. Louis beat Kansas City 4-1 and moved within one point of clinching the number one seed in the Western Conference.

In the seventh minute of play, Indiana Vassilev found himself with a great opportunity in front of the net, but KC goalkeeper Tim Melia made a fantastic save to keep the hosts off the scoresheet. A few minutes later, Melia made another save on City’s Aziel Jackson’s long-range effort. City would find another opportunity at the goal in the 30th minute when a rebound off a corner kick found its way to João Klauss. Klauss placed his shot in the lower left-hand corner of the goal, and Melia made another great save to keep the score level. Two minutes later, Klauss barely deflected a cross from Anthony Markanich wide of the goal. Kansas City’s best chance came on nifty footwork in the box by Dániel Sallói that led to a chance on goal. Roman Bürki, as he has done all year, stood tall and kept the match scoreless at the half.

The first 20 minutes of the second half offered more of a defensive battle between the two teams. City coach Bradley Carnell played his cards first in the 64th and 65th minute by subbing in Nicholas Gioacchini and Jared Stroud for Vassilev and Jackson. Less than ten minutes later, City found their breakthrough.

After Stroud won a free kick on the right wing, Eduard Löwen stepped up to place a free kick at the near post of the KC goal. On his birthday, Sam Adeniran rose to the occasion and headed the ball past Melia to put City up 1-0 in the 73rd minute. From there, the floodgates opened, and City couldn’t be contained. Stroud would double City’s lead on a perfectly placed shot on a careless turnover from the KC defense two minutes later.

With the game seemingly won, Klauss struck for the first of his two goals in the 80th minute. Klauss’ volley beat the goalkeeper to put City up 3-0. Then, in a matter of minutes, Klauss grabbed his second of the night to put City up 4-0 in the 85th minute. KC managed to spoil the night just for a moment with a goal in stoppage time, but City walked away victorious for a second consecutive game and with a season series win over their interstate rival, Kansas City. In the three games against Kansas City, City scored 9 goals to KC’s three.

With their 17th win on Saturday, City broke the MLS record for most wins in an inaugural season by an expansion team. They now look to the next record of most points in an inaugural season by an expansion team. That current mark is 57 points by MLS Champions LAFC. They’ll have that opportunity against Vancouver next Saturday.

For now, all eyes will be on Real Salt Lake and LAFC to see if St. Louis can do the unthinkable: become the first ever expansion team to win their conference championship in their inaugural year.

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