AUSTIN, Tex. — St. Louis CITY SC made its MLS debut Saturday in a match against Austin FC. There was a series of firsts for CITY SC kicking off their inaugural season as the league’s newest expansion team.
A 24th-minute header into the net by center-back Tim Parker via a corner from Eduard Löwen marks one of these firsts. Not only will Parker be enshrined as the first goal scorer in CITY SC history, but it also marks the fourth goal of his MLS career. In addition, his appearance now marks his 218th match in MLS, featured previously with the Vancouver Whitecaps, New York Red Bulls, and Houston Dynamo.
“Yeah, it’s an amazing feeling,” Parker said in a post-match press conference. “You know, I don’t score that many goals. So, it’s kind of ironic that I scored tonight in the way that I did… I think it’s a combination of all the hard work that we put in, and I was just in the right place at the right time.”
In the waning moments of the first half, Austin FC midfielder Sebastián Driussi would score an equalizing goal in the fourth minute of injury time off a long pass from Leo Väisänen, lobbing the ball into the back of the net.
Austin would fire off a second goal in the 72nd minute via a left-footed shot from Jon Gallagher to the center of the box to the bottom-right corner via a pass from Diego Fagúndez.
As sports teams in the Gateway City tend to go clutch late, much like the Battlehawks did Thursday against Seattle, CITY SC had a never quit, never die attitude to the remaining 18 minutes and change left in the match.
Former Austin FC midfielder Jared Stroud, now playing for CITY SC, made his return to Austin. He also made sure to fire off the equalizing goal in the 78th minute. Stroud played for Austin in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
However, it was an outside foot shot to the bottom-left side of the net from forward João Klauss de Mello in the 86th minute that secured the match-winner, latching onto a pass from Nicholas Gioacchini.
“Yeah, I saw the space behind the last line. So, I tried to run there,” João Klauss said about scoring the winning goal. “And then to be honest, I was so tired that I didn’t think about it. I just did it. So, I’m so happy for the goal but also proud of the team — what we did today was unbelievable.”
St. Louis native and homegrown player, 17-year-old Miguel Perez, made his MLS debut during this match. Perez scored the first goal in 2021 for CITY SC Academy.
CITY SC manager Bradley Carnell said that there was definitely some weight on their shoulders coming into the match.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming into Q2 Stadium against such a stacked, loaded team like they have,” Carnell stated.
Carnell also spoke of the traveling fans as well as those from St. Louis. Earlier in the day, the Blues, Cardinals, and Battlehawks organizations, as well as collegiate soccer programs throughout the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area, offered their best wishes to CITY SC as they prepared for their debut.
“Yeah, it was one of the first things that after 90 minutes, just to acknowledge the fans,” Carnell said. “We knew 170 plus our front office staff, just an incredible day for the city. We know the history and we’ve spoken about it through the whole preseason, and we know what it means to the city of St. Louis.”
CITY SC will return home to CITYPARK to host Charlotte FC in their inaugural home match on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. Central.
After a road trip against Portland, CITY SC will return home on March 18 against San Jose at 7:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL will host the Arlington Renegades at The Dome at America’s Center with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Regardless of which game is attended on March 18, there will be plenty of sports fans flocking to St. Louis, with fans checking up on both games.
Game Notes: Austin FC (0-1-0, 0 pts) vs. St. Louis CITY SC (1-0-0, 3 pts)
|Goals by Half||1||2||F|
Scoring Summary: STL: Parker (Löwen), 24; ATX: Sebastian Driussi (Väisänen), 45’ +4; ATX: Jon Gallagher (Fagundez), 72; STL – Jared Stroud, 78; STL – João Klauss (Gioacchini), 86
Misconduct Summary: STL: Ostrák (caution), 17