St. Louis CITY: Bradley Carnell for Coach of the Year?!

Bradley Carnell – St. Louis CITY SC – Extratime

As St. Louis CITY SC look to become the greatest expansion team in MLS history, it’s time to reward their head coach for a remarkable 2023 season.

That’s the consensus among the Extratime crew, who unanimously selected Bradley Carnell as their choice for Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year.

Already the first-ever expansion team to clinch their conference’s top seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, St. Louis could also break the expansion-team points record with a Decision Day win on Saturday over Seattle Sounders FC (9 pm ET | Apple TV - Free).

The newcomers are currently on 56 points, one behind LAFC’s mark of 57 from 2018.

“Look, 56 points right now after 33 games for an expansion team that we all picked last or second-to-last in the league,” noted The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, acknowledging the skepticism pundits had in what Carnell and general manager Lutz Pfannenstiel were building. “And that reflects on us being stupid, but also that they very much exceeded expectations.”

After storming out of the gates with a perfect 5W-0L-0D record (another MLS expansion milestone), Carnell and Co. came out unscathed after weathering some serious first-year growing pains – including dealing with long-term injuries to Designated Players João Klauss and Eduard Löwen.

"Klauss was out for a while, Löwen was out for a while. They’ve rotated wingers in and out," Bogert added. " … Everybody that came in and played, played well. That’s a credit, again, to the players themselves obviously, but the structure that Bradley Carnell has had and all the man-management stuff in addition to his tactical work."

Several other names have been floated – Pat Noonan after FC Cincinnati won the Supporters' Shield, Wilfried Nancy for lifting the Columbus Crew, Ben Olsen for resurrecting Houston Dynamo FC and Oscar Pareja for Orlando City SC's historic year.

But Carnell, a former New York Red Bulls assistant coach, may stand above the rest.

"This is a team in which they've had a great year," David Gass said, "and I think you could put their style, their commitment to the style and their ability to execute it as three of the top reasons why. That's going to get you a coach of the year [award]."