ST. LOUIS – An inaugural season for the ages. St. Louis CITY SC is officially playoff bound.
St. Louis earned a spot after Wednesday’s draw and some help from other MLS opponents.
CITY SC would have clinched outright with a win on Wednesday, but settled for a scoreless draw against a tough LAFC squad. But with Austin FC settling for a draw and Minnesota United FC losing their west-coast matchup, CITY SC has enough points and tiebreakers to officially compete in the big dance.
CITY SC improved to 15-5-10 and 50 points with Wednesday’s draw, not only securing a playoff spot but also giving them a stronger cushion to fight for the top seed in the Western Conference.
The inaugural season started off in record-breaking fashion. CITY SC became the first MLS expansion team to win its first five games in franchise history. The City Boys have played around the .500 mark since then, but with key head-to-head wins and some late heroics to earn draws, they’ve piled on points at a very steady pace.
Earlier in the season, ESPN praised CITY SC by naming them at the top of their “MLS Watchability Rankings” for the 2023 season. Soccer enthusiast Bill Connelly graded teams based on several criteria, not only based on stats but also team character.
Entering Wednesday, CITY SC led the Western Conference in goals scored (56) and goal differential (+18) and victories (15). The draw gives them an ever-so important point with plenty of seeding scenarios undecided.
Many leaders have stepped up throughout the season, and all at different points of the year.
Missouri native Niko Gioacchini has led the charge offensively with 10 goals. Former international Klauss has been dominant with healthy, scoring seven times in 14 games. Eduard Löwen and Tim Parker have evolved into key leaders with not only timely goals, but massive defensive efforts. Roman Bürki has started all 30 games and has averaged a clean sheet every four starts.
After Wednesday, St. Louis CITY SC has four regular-season games remaining. If they can win at least two of those, they will break the record for most points in a MLS season among first-year expansion teams.
With playoffs clinched, several scenarios also remain well in play for seeding. According to PlayoffStatus.com, a sports-based website that measures performance and playoff scenarios for US professional and college athletics, as of Wednesday,
- St. Louis CITY SC has a 97% chance of securing a playoff spot and hosting at least one playoff game.
- St. Louis CITY SC has a 88% at a Top-3 Western Conference seed.
- St. Louis CITY SC has a 68% chance at the Western Conference crown.