St. Louis City SC welcomes MLS to CityPark for home opener with Charlotte

St. Louis City SC welcomes MLS to CityPark for home opener with Charlotte

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:39 p.m. at CityPark

After an upset victory over Austin FC in their first game in MLS, St. Louis City SC hosts its home opener today against Charlotte FC.

City becomes the fastest expansion franchise to open its home grounds and soccer-specific stadium, CityPark, a benefit to the delays in entering the league due to the coronavirus pandemic. Typically, teams have to use a temporary home as stadium construction finishes.

Built to play a specific style of soccer, City SC was able to utilize a high-pressing attack and strong play on set pieces to overcome Austin to a 3-2 victory.

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Manager Bradley Carnell hopes to play his own strategy, rather than be forced to adapt to injury early in the game. Against Austin, Carnell was forced to remove star midfielder and former Premier League player Indiana Vassilev in the 17th minute due to concussion concerns. The 22-year-old Savanah, Georgia, native is expected to return to action with a specialized mask to protect his broken nose. South African international Njabulo Blom, who replaced Vassilev, could see more time tonight after a strong outing. 

Vassilev will begin the game on the bench though, as Blom will get the start. Niko Gioacchini will also get his first start for City SC, taking over forward duties for Rasmus Alm. Gioacchini is the only member of the club to have played for the United States Men’s National Team, and has played in Frances top league as well. 

With Gioacchini getting the start, it is expected that City will play a more box oriented formation, with Klauss and Gioacchini playing up top and a 4-2-2-2 formation falling behind them.

Charlotte FC enters play coming off a 1-0 loss at the hands of the New England Revolution. The team, nicknamed “The Crown,” entered MLS last season. Charlotte finished ninth in the Eastern Conference and 19th in MLS last season, missing out on the postseason, with a record of 13-18-3. The team’s inaugural manager was fired; the current manager is Christian Lattanzio. 

St. Louis City SC (1-0-0, three points) will be posted when announced at 6:39 p.m.

  1. Roman Burki, GK (C)
  2. Kyle Hiebert, CB
  3. Tim Parker, CB
  4. Jake Nerwinski, RWB
  5. John Nelson, LWB
  6. Njabulo Blom, MID
  7. Eduard Lowen, MID
  8. Niko Gioacchini, RW
  9. Tomas Ostrak, CF
  10. Jared Stroud, LW
  11. Joao Klauss, F

Available off the bench: Pompeu, Watts, Pidro, Blom, Gioacchini, Yaro, Perez, Lundt, Adeniran, Vassilev, Alm

Charlotte FC (0-0-1, 0 points,) will be posted when available at 6:39 p.m.

  1. Pablo Sisienga, GK
  2. Brandt Bronico, RWB
  3. Bill Tuiloma, CB
  4. Adilson Malanda, CB
  5. Nathan Byrne, LWB
  6. Derrick Jones, CM
  7. Ashley Westwood, LCM (C)
  8. Andre Shinyashiki, RCM
  9. Kamil Jozwiak, LW
  10. Enzo Copetti, F
  11. Karol Swiderski, RW
  • An expansion side has started their inaugural season with two wins four times in MLS history. Should City win Saturday, they would join Los Angeles FC (2018), Seattle Sounders (2009) and Chicago Fire FC (1998) in opening with multiple wins.
  • Carnell told beat reporter Tom Timmerman that Danish winger Isak Jensen would be available in the home opener, though it may take more time to become match fit. Jensen sustained an injury in training after colliding with defender Aziel Jackson and was listed as day-to-day.  

City SC heads west to take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Managed by Venezuelan national Giovanni Savarese, the Timbers finished 15th in the MLS table last season, and eighth in the West. The 2020 MLS Is Back Cup winners opened the 2023 season with a win over Sporting KC, and loss to LA earlier today.

Check back here throughout the afternoon and evening for immediate coverage of the game and any news that surfaces from the St. Louis City SC pre-game activities. We will publish expanded game coverage online Saturday night, and also in the pages of Sunday’s Post-Dispatch. 

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