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What you need to know

USMNT eliminated from Copa América following loss to Uruguay

The US men’s national team were eliminated from Copa América Monday, losing to Uruguay, 1-0, in their Group C finale at Arrowhead Stadium. The loss, combined with Panama’s 3-1 win over Bolivia meant Uruguay and Panama advanced to the knockout round out of Group C, while the USMNT finished third in the group. Only the top two teams in each group advance.

St. Louis CITY SC part ways with Carnell

St. Louis CITY SC have parted ways with head coach Bradley Carnell. Technical director John Hackworth takes over as interim coach, as the club begins the search for a permanent replacement.

2024 MLS All-Star Team Roster announced

Thirty players will represent Major League Soccer against the best of LIGA MX for the 2024 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, held July 24 at Columbus Crew's Field (8 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). Take a look at the full roster here.

St. Louis missed out on their year-two bump

St. Louis CITY SC parted ways with head coach Bradley Carnell yesterday. Even with St. Louis well out of playoff range at this point in the season, it came as a surprise. We’re only a few months removed from this team finishing first in the West in their inaugural season. Then again, it’s not like their performance this season came as a surprise.

There’s not too much to say on Carnell’s influence or lack thereof on St. Louis’ current results or whether he “deserved” to be let go. Regardless of record, we never know what’s going on behind the scenes and in the locker room. But even if he didn’t have an open beef with a player like Sam Adeniran and the team culture made Ted Lasso jealous, St. Louis set themselves for problems long before this recent nine-game winless streak began.

Let’s flash back a bit. At the start of 2023, St. Louis began their existence with a record five straight wins. It’s the kind of beginning we won’t see again. Like we all watched a newborn baby leap out of its mother’s arms and throw down a sick 360-degree windmill dunk. Expansion teams aren’t set up to succeed like that and, frankly, St. Louis got incredibly lucky. Don’t forget, there were moments where multiple teams inexplicably passed the ball to a St. Louis player directly in front of goal.

After those five wins, they relaxed on the luck, but only a little bit. Over the next 29 games of the season, they were on a totally fine 1.47 points-per-game pace while putting up underlying numbers that put them on a 1.23 expected points-per-game pace. That’s not too far off from what teams like Vancouver or Portland are doing right now. But it’s still an expected point total that would put them near the bottom of the West.

Basically, all considered, past those first five games, they were an average Western Conference team aided heavily by luck and goalkeeper Roman Bürki having an elite shot-stopping season. Naturally, they recognized their luck and overperformance this offseason and added multiple key pieces to a roster that clearly needed an upgrade like every other expansion team has needed in their second season and everything worked out ……………[checking]… ok, oops, I had that part wrong.

This offseason, St. Louis sent Jared Stroud - five goals, five assists and a high motor over 25 starts in 2023 - to D.C. United and transferred Nicholas Gioacchini - 10 goals and an assist in 24 starts last season - to Como 1907. They didn’t truly replace either. Their only additions that have contributed this year are midfielder Chris Durkin and fullback Tomas Totland. That’s not the kind of offseason that elevates a team into a year-two jump forward.

Although to be fair, they have technically improved slightly when it comes to their underlying numbers. Their 2024 expected points per game rate jumped from 1.32 in 2023 to their current rate of 1.36. That’s… not actually really different at all, is it? Fine, to be actually fair, they’ve underperformed their current expected points rate by even more than they overperformed last season. They’ve had injuries and absences and bad luck this season. It happens.

But they certainly didn’t take the steps to improve on a promising inaugural season. Even if they were playing up to their underlying numbers, they would still be sitting right on the edge of the playoff line in the West. Regardless of who they had as a head coach, they were always going to regress from last season when they didn’t improve on the roster.

Now, they’re at their first major crossroads as a club. Who will they find to replace Carnell and what exactly will they do differently? It’s not totally clear right now. But it won’t matter who they bring in if they don’t have the talent to compete with the top of the West. They should have a big transfer window or two ahead of them. It started with the signing of German midfielder Marcel Hartel as a Designated Player, announced today.

Other things

Vancouver Whitecaps FC's White named Player of the Matchday: Brian White scored a hat trick to lead Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 4-3 come-from-behind home win over St. Louis CITY SC, claiming MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Michelob Ultra honors for Matchday 23.

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