It’s Friday, and St. Louis City SC sits atop the MLS table. Nine points in three tries is something even the biggest optimist wouldn’t have predicted when this season got going, yet here we are. Our fourth match against San Jose will be our first real test at rotation with a few availability questions, but we should all have confidence that Bradley Carnell has been rotating a good amount in each of our three prior matches. As we all get ready for another match day, here’s what’s caught my eye this week.
The Back Line
Justin Horneker from St. Louis Magazine penned a great profile on Kyle Hiebert, one of many key contributors through St. Louis City SC’s first three matches. Hiebert’s road hasn’t been easy, but what it’s given him is a toughness and tenacity apparent each time he’s put on the shirt.
Key Contributor Controversy
Courtesy of SABC Sport, Njabulo Blom’s health status made international waves this week. A raw but promising talent, Blom is highly coveted by Bafana Bafana manager Hugo Broos, but this first bit of player drama out of the City camp made his status uncertain. Welcome to soccer, folks, where it’s normal for a player to be plucked out of a club lineup due to international duty. Blom did indeed get the call-up, even with lingering wellness concerns. If he travels, he will miss two matches for St. Louis.
As mentioned above, St. Louis faces its first real rotation challenges this week. The Post-Dispatch outlines Blom’s status, along with concerns for Parker and Vassilev. Depth matters, especially as the season begins to pick up.
In case you missed it, USMNT has been embroiled in controversy since November due to Gio Reyna’s lack of playing time, and that ended up just being the tip of the iceberg. Gregg Berhalter, former manager in limbo, had his chance to speak this week, which I find far more interesting than the Reyna tantrums. While I personally don’t think Berhalter should keep the reins moving forward from a pure sporting perspective, he did not deserve this mess that has effectively killed his chance at a new contract.
Niklas Rasek put the first hardware in St. Louis City SC’s trophy case for the 2023 season as he won the eMLS Cup last weekend.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic calls it how it is when it comes to pay-to-play. St. Louis City, if you’re reading this, keep up the free community soccer.
Joseph Samelson, writer covering the Colorado Rapids, called out restrictions placed on his coverage by the club. What should be reported on is a nuanced topic with very little room for error, but this one firmly falls on one side of the line. Words shared in public should always be fair game.
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