CITYPARK, ST. LOUIS – In front of another sellout crowd in CityPark on Sunday, St Louis City SC made sure to hit yet another historical MLS landmark when they became the first-ever expansion side to hit 25 points in just 13 matches. With their 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, City SC also moved up to second in the Western Conference standings, level on points with LAFC but behind on goal difference.
The match was headlined by the goal from a homegrown talent in Miguel Perez, who scored his first MLS goal on a looping cross from Thomas Ostrak four minutes into stoppage time to give City SC a 3-1 lead and secure the three points. After just graduating from Pattonville High School just two days before, it’s been an eventful week for the teenager.
“My dream is to play in Europe in the big-time leagues over there,” Perez said in an interview with KSDK. “But right now, I’m just focusing on what I’m doing now and trying to get better.”
Ten minutes into the match, following a foul on Indiana Vassilev, Eduard Lowen roofed a free kick from 27 yards out of the edge of the box and into the upper right corner of the net to give the hosts the lead. After the early goal, Vancouver gained possession into the danger areas but didn’t test City SC goalkeeper Roman Burki with a shot on goal.
In the dying embers of the first half, Lowen found himself involved in another goal-scoring chance as his long ball directed off Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon’s head, past keeper Thomas Hasal and into the net to make it 2-0 for City SC.
Vancouver came out strong for the second half, starting with a goal-scoring opportunity from Simon Belcher, who went through the City defense into one on one with Burki but couldn’t control his attempt to flick the ball around the goalkeeper, which was settled by Burki.
It was a physical battle in the second half, with City SC receiving multiple yellow cards, the most costly coming from midfielder Jared Stroud, who will now be suspended for next week’s match against Houston. After a continual push, Vancouver cut the deficit to one goal on a header from the expected goals leader in the MLS, Brian White, but was then finished off in the fourth minute of added time in the 90th by the local teenager Miguel Perez.
City SC’s win against Vancouver came a week after the 4-0 thrashing of rivals Sporting KC, breaking their winless streak of three matches. In response to the victory, City SC manager Bradely Carnell took the if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it approach and used the exact starting eleven again in hopes of another home victory and the squad delivered the victory.
“We knew this would be a game to be taken seriously, and also anticipated it wouldn’t be the most beautiful game and applied our principles,” Carnell said. “Credit to the boys for punching above their weight and keeping on doing things that nobody expected.”
STL SC will be back at CityPark this upcoming Saturday against the Houston Dynamo, who are currently on a three-match unbeaten run, including their latest 2-1 victory against Austin FC.