COURTESY OF CITY SC
Midfielder Aziel Jackson kept the ball moving as City SC beat Sporting Kansas City.
The competition between St. Louis City SC and Sporting Kansas City is the latest edition of an interstate sports rivalry that goes back several decades and includes the baseball Royals and the Cardinals and the football Chiefs and the Cardinals (and then the Rams).
Though this MLS soccer rivalry goes back just several months, it hasn’t lacked for passion, spills and thrills. City won the first battle 4-0 on May 20 at CityPark, and Sporting claimed a 2-1 victory at Children’s Mercy Park on September 2.
But City won the series Saturday night with a scintillating 4-1 victory in front of a sold-out CityPark.
“The second [match] in Kansas City left a bad taste in our mouth after the loss. So we definitely wanted to come here and win for the fans,” City’s Samuel Adeniran said in a post-match press conference.
Remaining calm and composed is the key to winning rivalry matches where emotions run high. After a few chippy moments and close calls in the first half, City head coach Bradley Carnell’s half-time message to his team was clear: “Be patient, and [the goal] will come.”
Rivalry matches are special, and Carnell knew his team needed to take it all in. “Whatever is your why — whether it’s the fans, whether it’s individual, family and what-have-you — just keep a moment for this, what’s going on around here. This is something to behold, I think to cherish for a long time.”
COURTESY CITY SC
Samuel Adeniran celebrates.
St. Louis Continues to Make History
City’s 17th victory means it now holds the Major League Soccer record for the most wins by an expansion team in its inaugural season. City has the opportunity to extend the record with two matches left in the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders.
Los Angeles FC’s loss on Sunday night also meant City clinched the 2023 Western Conference title, and City is now guaranteed homefield advantage throughout the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. The team will also compete in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, an international tournament consisting of the best teams in the region.
But City is chasing another MLS record: The most points accumulated by an expansion team. LAFC set the record in 2018 with 57 points, and City currently has 56 points with two matches remaining in the regular season.