St. Louis CITY SC’s inaugural season just keeps on becoming more magical. And now, it’s one for the record books.
This start is also having real-time repercussions around the league, as St. Louis are the last perfect team remaining after four matchdays, going a flawless 4W-0L-0D.
In other words: the new guys, the ones barely anybody had any faith in going into the 2023 season, sit alone atop both the Western Conference and overall MLS standings.
For head coach Bradley Carnell, this supposedly improbable St. Louis fairytale is anything but.
"Is it a surprise for us? No. The boys were confident from day one," he said, relishing in the fact all the preseason doubters did was light a fire in his squad.
"The boys were angry from day one, that no one believed in them. So yeah, we've got the chip on the shoulder, we had the chip on the shoulder. But now we've shown that it's not just about having a chip on the shoulder.
"We can compete... we can dominate, we can take control and we can execute."
"Massive" from João Klauss
Those aren't just empty words, considering Saturday's showing was arguably CITY SC's most impressive to date. Goals from Nicholas Gioacchini, João Klauss and Tomás Ostrák secured all three points and set the stage for another memorable, sold-out night at CITYPARK.
"I though the boys had their most complete performance," Carnell stated, saving special praise for Klauss, a breakout star during this early run.
"He's just a winner by trait. He drives us all," the South African coach said of the Brazilian Designated Player, who found the back of the net for the third time Saturday night, while contributing at least a goal or an assist in each of CITY's first four games.
"... His toolbox is massive. He has so many different things he can provide, different weapons."
Clean sheet secured
On the defensive side, St. Louis also hit a milestone by earning their first clean sheet, which was especially sweet for goalkeeper and captain Roman Bürki.
"You could see Roman was itching for the clean sheet. He really wanted this one badly," Carnell said of the former Borussia Dortmund standout. "We gave him the ball in the locker room."
With St. Louis notching win after win, and the doubters getting increasingly quiet, it would be tempting for the record-setting expansion club to get caught up in the moment.
That's the last thing Carnell wants right now going into a Matchday 5 test at Real Salt Lake next Saturday (9:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). Aside from San Jose, they've also won at home over Charlotte FC and away to Austin FC and Portland Timbers.
"We just now have to stay grounded," Carnell warned. "I don't doubt this group for one single day that we don't remain humble, that we don't remain eager to learn and to commit.
"...I just want to keep this going. Right now the motto is, 'Comfortable, but never satisfied.'"