Mecca of Banter

St. Louis City SC 2024 Season Preview

February 17, 2024 Ryan Butchart, Nick Hoeflinger, Andy Hoover, Conner Sendobry, Lucas Winkelmann and Henry Wynd Season 3
St. Louis City SC 2024 Season Preview
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Mecca of Banter
St. Louis City SC 2024 Season Preview
Feb 17, 2024 Season 3
Ryan Butchart, Nick Hoeflinger, Andy Hoover, Conner Sendobry, Lucas Winkelmann and Henry Wynd

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In this episode, the hosts discuss the upcoming St. Louis City season and review the new kit release. They reflect on the success of the 2023 season and set higher expectations for the upcoming season. They also discuss the players who left the club and the new signings, including wingbacks Nicholas Dyer and Thomas Tautland, holding midfielder Chris Durkin, and Japanese midfielder Kojima. The conversation covers concerns about the transfer window, team expectations for the 2024 season, individual concerns, players on the hot seat, and individual expectations. The conversation covers disappointment with injuries, identifying players who need to step up, expectations for the wing backs, most exciting players to watch, predicting the starting 11 for the first game, game prediction and expectations, and closing remarks and social media promotion.


  • The hosts have high expectations for the upcoming St. Louis City season after the success of the 2023 season.
  • The new kit release received mixed reactions from fans.
  • The club has established a strong culture and identity both on and off the field.
  • The business management of the club has been impressive, with a focus on fan engagement and experience. There are concerns about the roster construction and the team's ability to replicate last season's success.
  • The team's performance in the CONCACAF Champions League and the playoffs will be important measures of success.
  • Key players like Klaus, Blom, Nielsen, and Louven are on the hot seat and need to deliver consistent performances.
  • The team needs to find a balance between pressing and possession-based play.
  • The performance of individual players like Klaus, Blom, Nielsen, and Louven will be crucial to the team's success. Injuries can be a source of disappointment and can impact a team's performance.
  • The performance of wing backs is important for the team's defensive stability.


Introduction and Kit Release

Review of 2023 Season

Players Who Left the Club

New Signings

Transfer Window Concerns

Team Expectations for 2024

Individual Concerns

Players on the Hot Seat

Individual Expectations

Disappointment with the injury and the need for immediate performance

Identifying players who need to step up for success

Expectations for the wing backs

Most exciting players to wat

Support the Show.


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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, the hosts discuss the upcoming St. Louis City season and review the new kit release. They reflect on the success of the 2023 season and set higher expectations for the upcoming season. They also discuss the players who left the club and the new signings, including wingbacks Nicholas Dyer and Thomas Tautland, holding midfielder Chris Durkin, and Japanese midfielder Kojima. The conversation covers concerns about the transfer window, team expectations for the 2024 season, individual concerns, players on the hot seat, and individual expectations. The conversation covers disappointment with injuries, identifying players who need to step up, expectations for the wing backs, most exciting players to watch, predicting the starting 11 for the first game, game prediction and expectations, and closing remarks and social media promotion.


  • The hosts have high expectations for the upcoming St. Louis City season after the success of the 2023 season.
  • The new kit release received mixed reactions from fans.
  • The club has established a strong culture and identity both on and off the field.
  • The business management of the club has been impressive, with a focus on fan engagement and experience. There are concerns about the roster construction and the team's ability to replicate last season's success.
  • The team's performance in the CONCACAF Champions League and the playoffs will be important measures of success.
  • Key players like Klaus, Blom, Nielsen, and Louven are on the hot seat and need to deliver consistent performances.
  • The team needs to find a balance between pressing and possession-based play.
  • The performance of individual players like Klaus, Blom, Nielsen, and Louven will be crucial to the team's success. Injuries can be a source of disappointment and can impact a team's performance.
  • The performance of wing backs is important for the team's defensive stability.


Introduction and Kit Release

Review of 2023 Season

Players Who Left the Club

New Signings

Transfer Window Concerns

Team Expectations for 2024

Individual Concerns

Players on the Hot Seat

Individual Expectations

Disappointment with the injury and the need for immediate performance

Identifying players who need to step up for success

Expectations for the wing backs

Most exciting players to wat

Support the Show.


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Spotify ▶
Google Podcasts ▶
Amazon Music ▶
Pandora ▶
Buzzsprout ▶
Stitcher ▶
iHeartRadio ▶
TuneIn ▶
Overcast ▶
Pocket Casts ▶
Podfriend ▶
Castro ▶
Castbox ▶
Podchaser ▶
Listen Notes ▶
Podcast Addict ▶
Deezer ▶
Player FM ▶
Podcast Index ▶

Instagram ▶
Twitter ▶
Facebook ▶
YouTube ▶

Email ▶

Dobes (00:03.352)
And we are live. Welcome back to this week's installment of the Mecca of Banter podcast. It's going to be a special one this week, folks. I have you're tuning in. Thanks for tuning in this week. All the Mecca folks are going to be on the same side. This is going to be your 2024 St. Louis city season preview. We're going to talk about the new kit release. We're going to talk about the in-comings and out-comings who have joined the club. We're going to talk about our expectations, not only as a team.

Hen (00:05.781)

Dobes (00:31.016)
individuals. We're also going to predict our starting 11 for the game upcoming versus Houston. But before we dive in, let's meet the fellas. I got to start. Hen, I'm not going to say my club's name on this because we're on the same scene, but someone let you say it. Hen, go ahead, kick us off today, brother.

Hen (00:46.123)
What's up brother? It's your boy Hen. You can find me on Twitter at Henry Wine. It's a great week to be a St. Louis City fan. You know what I'm saying? You know what I'm saying. It's a great week to be a St. Louis City fan. We're coming live. We're a couple days away from getting back to City Park and I couldn't be more excited. As Dobe's mentioned, we're going to talk about the kit, but I actually got the chance to go down to City Pavilion this morning, see the kit in person, and just being back around that stadium got me so excited.

Dobes (00:53.536)

Hoov (00:53.624)

Hen (01:12.971)
once again, so I couldn't be more happy to be here and good to see you fellas.

Dobes (01:18.584)
I love it, Hen. I love it. I thought you were going to say it. I was kind of hoping you said it, but you did. But you did. It's cool. It's cool. It's cool. Nicky, what's up? Nicky, what's up, brother? How are we?

Hen (01:23.075)
Hey, hey, we're on the same side today.

Dobes (01:52.232)
I love it. And finally, we're going to kick it over to the man heckling the supporters. Excuse me. I guess the away supporters up in the second section. Our boy Hoover. How are we? How are we about that?

Hoov (02:02.339)
Hey man, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Me and the season ticket holders are geeked to get back in the stadium. I'll be the first to say, I'm super nervous, but I'm more excited. I'm more excited, I'm more excited. I'm not gonna let those nerves creep in on this. I am giddy to get back in the stadium on Tuesday, so looking forward to it.

Dobes (02:04.865)

Hen (02:05.031)
Ha ha ha.

Dobes (02:15.7)
Yep, yep, yep.

Dobes (02:27.56)
I love it. I love it. Now, fellas, we sort of waited, and I'm going to say we waited because it sounds great. Let's just say we waited to do this episode until the kit came out. So the new Away Kit came out today. Sort of long been awaited. Cities dropped some hints over the past couple of weeks. They're calling it the Confluence Kit. I'm quoting this here. It's inspired by the intersection of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The kit's design represents the unity and energy that is flowing throughout our city.

Extremely cheesy in my opinion, but nonetheless the kid is out fellows. What's our initial thoughts? I bought one ten minutes after it came out So I'm clearly a fan But I want to know your guys thoughts

Dobes (03:22.772)
That's a stretch. I'll say that's a stretch. That's a stretch.

Hen (03:24.06)
Ain't that something?

Hoov (03:24.237)

Thanks for watching!

Dobes (03:30.216)
We get it, dude. You work at Worldwide. We get it, dude.

Hen (03:32.108)
Yeah, yeah.

Hoov (03:52.247)
Yeah, dude, the it's like a couple things on that the inspiration that they have to have behind these kids now. It's just too much like they've made. They've made every single club they made every single MLS club they've shoved some PR interns in a in a room and was like, I figure out what this could mean for the city. Like, it's been with LA. It's been with they've all had some deeper meaning. Let's just let a kid be a kid. I you know, I appreciate the sentimentality and the idea behind St. Louis but

Dobes (04:01.452)
just really.

Hen (04:02.968)

Hen (04:12.108)

Hoov (04:22.299)
It's just a kit, lads. We don't really have to dig too deep. I really like it, and I said this on the Mecha Twitter today, but in a world of overdone, overdesigned, ugly MLS kits, it's a breath of fresh air to me to have a little bit of sauce, a little bit of class. It doesn't need to be the obnoxious first team kit that we kind of have right now, in my opinion. And I feel all of the MLS teams are kind of trending towards. I saw the.

Minnesota kit today and everyone's praising it on Twitter. It's a galaxy print kit, I hate it, everyone's loving it. I think it's disgusting. So I love the simplicity, not to compare it to the United kit, but I do think, I really like that Red Devil one that you guys have, the white with the red trim, and I think this is a great take on that. And I like the little, all of the confluence lines or something they say are.

Hen (04:54.735)
Galaxy one or whatever it's called. Yeah. Yeah

Dobes (04:57.579)

Dobes (05:20.92)
It's the meeting of the rivers, man. Don't you see that?

Hen (05:23.245)
Don't you know?

Hoov (05:23.364)
Exactly, every river is different, right, or something. But I do find that to be kind of a cool touch that not one kit is going to be the exact same. Some of those lines don't match up. I think that's kind of cool. I'm a huge fan, personally. I like it, I'm gonna buy it. I'm not sure who I want on the back yet, but definitely gonna pick that one up.

Hen (05:43.823)
Yeah, two things. One, I'm definitely gonna buy it. Two, I'm impartial about the jersey. So like, I'm gonna spend money on it, yeah, but like, I don't love it as much as I love the Away Kit like that I'm wearing now. And what's interesting is like when you look on social media, when you look at kind of like the reception that it's gotten, it's literally split 50-50. Some people love it. Some people are very underwhelmed by it. Like, dobes, you put out a thing on our Instagram of like, what are your thoughts on the kit? And literally our responses are 50-50.

I love it. It's fine. It's just, it's one of those things. But I think, you know, you hit it spot on. It's simple. It can be elegant if it's matched with the white short. I think it's going to be awesome. Um, the one qualm that I have with it, I saw it in person, the front neckline, which is a minimal thing, but like the front neckline is super, super thin. Uh, and I hate that. Like I hate the way that the front of the neckline is. The back of the neckline isn't that way. It's a little bit thicker. So it's kind of odd how it comes together. But I think in all,

Dobes (06:14.028)

Hen (06:42.875)
on field, it's going to look cool on field. And then Burkies new goalkeeper kit looks sick. The the black with like the little like sprinkle of yellow in there and then the flood like the flip with the yellow kit. I think it looks awesome. And definitely it was cool. I got to city pavilion today at like, I don't know 1030 and there was already so many people there. There are so many people trying it on. It's just cool to see how the city gets up for this kind of stuff. I imagine we'll see a lot of those jerseys in the stands come Tuesday.

Dobes (06:49.548)

Hen (07:12.475)
And it is really cool that St. Louis is doing free customization through the 31st of March. I think what a classy, classy touch for the home supporters. We were talking about prices this morning and you know, the home kit is $160, the authentic one. But then if you want a player's name on it, it can go up to $200. But the fact that St. Louis is doing it free customization for the first month and a half, it's just a nice touch. So I'm also going to get a player's name on the back. I don't know who yet. But

This will be my first St. Louis City player on the back. So it's kind of a big thing, but yeah, I'm on the fence. I don't know.

Dobes (07:49.16)
I, to me, and I hate to compare it to like European, but like when I see spurs kits, like the all white with the white shorts and the white socks, like that's the cleanest look to me. And then you let the play and then you let the players sort of have their creativity to wear your lime green boots, wear sort of whatever you want. Like to me, that's just like the most ideal kit. And yes, it does kind of look like the team that I support. I said, I wasn't going to say their name. It does kind of look the all white kit. That is my favorite in Europe. But

Hen (08:17.483)
Yeah bro, we're massive, we're massive!

Dobes (08:17.504)
I know, I almost was like, yeah.

Hoov (08:22.005)
You mentioned my European team so that you love their kids so we're even

Hen (08:25.593)

Dobes (08:27.565)
So yeah, I mean, I think all in all, a lot of the reception is sort of, you know, mixed 50-50. In my opinion, when we see this on the field, whether you mix it with white shorts, whether you mix it with navy shorts, even I saw a couple of designs with pink shorts, I still think the jerseys are going to look clean. But moving on, before we dive into directly to our expectations, this is going to be a little bit different. For those of you that have been around with us since last year.

Last year, expectations were sort of set. We didn't know anything about the team. You know, essentially we were expecting, you know, let's hope that we are competitive. Let's hope that we establish a style of playing. You know, last season, the City team was kind of sort of the darlings, you know, exceeding all expectations. Not only our expectations, but the expectations of, you know, the media. You know, I think what made this team so successful and it's kind of what our expectations were was, you know, we want to see a culture, you know, not only from...

the playing side, but off the field, you know, from Carolyn, from vets at the top, you know, setting the culture, you know, making the community around it. Then all the way to Lutz, you know, sort of the sporting director setting a style of play and moving down to Carnell, you know, we wanted to see a direct style of play, you know, it may not necessarily be our favorite, but it's kind of what we wanted to see, you know, Carnell and his staff sort of took this, you know, and this is his words, not mine, this Ralph Renyuk approach to, you know, we want to play pressing and counter pressing soccer.

the goal of making it extremely difficult for opponents to play. And it worked to a T, you know, early in the season, um, you know, we went on a run and not many people expected us to go on a run, but we became extremely difficult to play against. You know, most people, including myself, thought that, you know, after the first five, six games that this was going to end after some key injuries, losing clout, all of this stuff, we all thought it was going to come to an end. But to me, what sort of gives me a positive moving to these expectations is the fact that.

The mentality was there. Even when things change, we kept the style of play, even though I hated it as much as I do, we kept the style of play and it led to a ton of success. You know, Western conference regular season title. I think it's only right before we dive into sort of this year's expectations to look back at 2023 real quick, because it's definitely going to change how we view the season. So I have just sort of the records that we set in front of me. I'm going to read off for you all. I'd love to get some reactions or maybe you guys thoughts.

Dobes (10:40.892)
First off, the 2023 team finished with an overall record of 17-12-5 on 56 points. 56 points is the second most ever by an expansion team. 17 wins is the record for most ever by an expansion team. We tied for a best start not just by an expansion team, but overall in the MLS with 5 wins in a row, matching the 1996 Galaxy and the 2012 Sporting Kansas City team. Then we actually did, of course, set the record as an expansion side for most wins at the start of season, you know.

passing the 09 Seattle Sounders. We also joined Atlanta United, LAFC, Chicago Fire as the only expansion teams to score 60 plus goals. And then of course we capped off an amazing regular season with a Western Conference regular season title. Of course it didn't exactly end the way we saw it to, but I think fellas we can all agree, based off the expectations that we set for ourselves, we exceeded every single thing that we could and more. I don't know if you guys have any thoughts based off of that, just leading into this, but.

Hen (11:34.235)

Dobes (11:37.676)
To me, it's like the expectations, if not, are even higher this season.

Hen (11:41.507)
Yeah, higher for sure. Higher for sure in the sense that like, I wanna see more success in the post-season. And I do think that might come with limited success or less success in the regular season. I'm okay with that, you know? I think, you know, especially with the intro that you had of like, we wanted to see a culture. We wanted to see an identity. We saw that. We saw that throughout the season. We saw things happen, but it also, when it came to these big moments,

Dobes (11:56.824)
Of course.

Hen (12:09.287)
There's a couple of moments where we looked like the new kids on the block. We did, we looked like we hadn't been there before. We hadn't played under the bright lights. We hadn't had that experience. And of course we lost some guys, but the, the core group of guys coming back, um, played a big, big hand in last season. So I think to your point, exactly. We did surpass expectations, but it is interesting now that we've had a couple months away from the season when reflecting on the season.

Like I don't want to sound spoiled or anything because it was our first season. Like we didn't know what to expect, but I almost look at it as kind of like a damn, we didn't do as much as we could have. But when you phrase it the way that you just did, it's like, well, we, we did accomplish quite a bit. Um, so yeah, it's like interesting now to look backwards after a couple of months have gone by, but we did surpass expectations. It is true.

Hoov (12:42.459)

Dobes (12:42.529)

Hen (12:56.571)
We developed an identity. We developed an affinity for these players. We had our favorite players. We had our least favorite players. We knew what we wanted to change. Like we definitely developed that culture within the city for sure.

Hoov (13:03.924)

Hoov (13:11.491)

Dobes (13:11.66)
I think the big, the key thing is like, the experience is gonna be massive. Like it didn't end the way we wanted it to, but the experience that we gained from sort of that shortcoming at the end of the season, I think is just gonna do us that much better leading into this year.

Hoov (13:16.023)

Hoov (13:26.607)
Today's the first day that I'm willing to accept how great of a season last year was because it took that long for me to get over the playoff loss. We were all, I know that we came back on the podcast after that loss and we're just crushed. But it's also, we also saw it coming. Like the last few matches, the last month or two, none of us were all that shocked at the form that we were in.

Dobes (13:31.94)

Hen (13:48.452)
Yeah, totally.

Hoov (13:54.715)
But Dobs is right, the experience is gonna be so massive. And the experience for Carnell too, like he came out and said firsthand that he mismanaged that international break to where we went on this just devastating run of losses and poor performances. So I think the experience factor comes in all over the pitch. You know, he's gonna be able to take these one game knockouts a lot more seriously. I think that will go a really long way. And your right hand, 100% that.

I don't even necessarily want to see the same level of success that we had in the regular season. Like, all I want is to peak at the right time. We saw Kansas City doing it. We saw Kansas City absolutely on a tear for the last two months. I don't want to sit in last place all of the regular season and then be biting our nails on whether or not we're going to make that eighth place playoff spot. But yeah, you know, maybe some more rotation this year.

Hen (14:32.439)

Hoov (14:51.875)
I feel stronger about our depth now than I did last year. Again, last year, we can all say what we thought about it, but we had zero expectation. We didn't have any depth. We weren't meant to have any depth. We didn't know how certain guys were gonna pan out. And now we just wanted to be respected. Yeah, so exactly. So now, you know, and for the first time ever even after last year,

Dobes (15:06.936)
We just wanted to be respectable last year.

Hen (15:09.443)
Yeah, yeah, we didn't want to get smacked.

Hoov (15:19.931)
I've got what I feel is the best starting 11. You know what I mean? I feel like I can now put pen to paper and say, here's who I want lining up in each position. We've got a system, we've got an identity. Like I said, may not love it, it's gonna be narrow. But if we're gonna do it, then we better put the right guys in the right place. So, unbelievable success, if you wanna put it that way.

But yeah, you know, we'll get to our what we consider success later, but I've got some thoughts there for sure.

Hoov (16:18.787)
I can accept it.

Hen (16:35.043)
Yeah. Yeah, and the...

Hoov (16:38.032)
I think the, you're good.

Hen (16:42.659)
The other thing that, you know, the other part of it is also the experience of the stadium way surpassed our expectations. Like we were so, I remember being like here a year ago and talking about like the season preview, not knowing what, but like we were all so geek to like be in the stadium together supporting our city. And it just kept getting better. Like every, like

game, you could tell they were doing more, they were adding more to the experience, more restaurants, more this. Like, I'm obviously excited to watch the team again, but I'm excited to be back in the environment that is like City Park. And they created that, we created that. And I think that way surpassed my expectation when I look back on it. Like

I don't know. I don't know about you all, but like every year page and I do like, what was the highs and lows of 2023 or whatever it was in so many of our highs, so many of our favorite weekends or favorite days that we had in 2023 were spent at that stadium. So, um, shout out to them for doing that as well.

Hoov (17:45.087)
Yeah, that's not something we're gonna dive into on this one, but it can't be understated to me or from me that the business surrounding the club was spectacular. Top to bottom, fan engagement, fan experience, the actual stadium itself is a friggin modern marvel, it's gorgeous. I could go on and on about how well the ownership group, how well the business management team

Hen (17:58.203)

Dobes (17:58.486)

Hoov (18:11.771)
There's individuals that I really have enjoyed following from the club on social media. Peter Wood, I think, is the guy that runs the City Voice podcast. There's been so many good things coming from that. And you know, like I've mentioned probably eight to 10 times in the past, I was a sports business manager back at Missouri State. So a lot of this sits even heavier with me at just how cool and how well that they've done. And even on the marketing video today for the Confluence Kit, like.

Hen (18:18.278)

Dobes (18:20.314)

Dobes (18:29.708)

Hoov (18:40.971)
I thought the video was excellent. I was really impressed that they avoided leaks. I was really impressed that no one took a picture of that and sent it to their buddies and it made the rounds on social media. So kudos wholeheartedly on all that. The number one thing that I'm gonna miss about last year are the obscene betting odds that were in our favor for the first five to 10 games. Your boy cleaned out his bookie.

Hen (19:00.131)
I knew you were gonna say it, bro. I knew you were gonna say it.

Dobes (19:01.352)

Hen (19:07.608)

Hoov (19:08.815)
wholeheartedly for the first six to seven weeks. And if you don't think I'm gonna bet on the Moneyline and the Over in every game coming up this year, again, you're wrong. I came out so much more positive than I did negative on that one. So, looking forward to it though.

Dobes (19:24.568)
The, the, the highest compliment I can give is in those that listen, I mean, you guys are my friends, like, and you know, this about me, I can describe how skeptical I was not just about like city, but the MLS as a whole. And the fact that I went from last year having like, you know, sort of dipping my toe in, of course I'm going to go to the games. They're in St. Louis. The tickets are relatively, you know, not that expensive. You can go to the games, the atmosphere is sick, but the way that like,

Hoov (19:39.555)

Dobes (19:51.904)
Like who've you said, the way that not only of course success like leans into that, but the way that you go to the game, the professionalism, how everything is, it's just so easy now, in my opinion, to be a fan and I've 100% completely bought in to what we're building. And I think that's the biggest compliment you can give to an ownership group, to a coach, to players is that you want to support them and they become part of your life. And that's truthfully, I'm a tough critic when it comes to footy, probably more than any other aspect of my life. And the fact that

Hoov (20:18.062)

Dobes (20:20.556)
I dove all the way in. It's just a compliment to the club and everybody itself.

Hoov (20:24.292)
The 180 you've done from our season preview last year to this one, I remember you saying like, well, guess I'm going to start picking up on MLS players to watch because I don't know a damn thing about this league. I agree. That speaks volumes.

Dobes (20:26.844)

Hen (20:27.039)
Yeah, literally.

Hen (20:36.469)

Hen (20:41.258)

Dobes (20:41.422)
Yeah, but coming from this season, or excuse me, last season to this season, we're going to look a little different fellas. We lost some key pieces, so before we get into our expectations, we want to make sure we touch on the incomings and the guys that left the club. I think it's our only grabby to start with the guys that left. Most notable, obviously, Nico, you know, left to Como, went to Serie B. Kind of a cool story.

Guy gets to fulfill his dream, dual national, partly Italian, something he's wanna do. We saw Centerback, John Bell, move on to Seattle within the expansion draft. Head wingback, Johnny Nelson, joining the LA Galaxy in a free transfer. Good riddance, see ya, get outta here. Centerback, Lucas Bartlett and Jared Stroud joined DC United, see ya, bye, nobody cares about you. Ezek Jensen, Ezek Jensen. I kinda like Jensen, he's young. I know he's on loan and I'm...

Hoov (21:25.828)

Dobes (21:32.112)
100% going to butcher this name. He headed to the Danish Super League on loan to Viborg? Anybody? Gundagun. And then finally, I think a key one I wanted to touch on as well is, you know, we all love Miggi. We all thought he was a little bit premature getting his minutes last year. He made as well. I can't, is it Birmingham?

Hen (21:40.071)
Nice man, nice.

Hoov (21:40.219)
Volkswagen, Volkswagen.

Goon, goon-de-goon.

Hen (21:47.036)

Hoov (22:00.352)
Imperium Legion. Yeah, yeah.

Dobes (22:01.504)
Bergham Legion, Transfer Marker just had Legion. So he's gonna play the USLC this year on loan, but can we be recalled at any moment? I mean, do you guys have any thoughts on some of the outgoings? Obviously, Nico's the key one, the key piece. Tied for leading goal score last year, but any thoughts on any other players we lost?

Hen (22:11.729)

Hen (22:17.839)
was really surprised with the Stroud one. I know that like we had our own opinions about Stroud as a player. But when I looked at like the makeup of the team, he played so many minutes. And then obviously, Nico,

Sucks that Nikos gone. I liked Nikko as that secondary striker He played a huge role for us, but I will look at every other name on that list We called every single one at the end of the season recap like we knew Bartlett was gone We knew that you know Johnny Nelson was never gonna play John Bell played like twice for us because he wasn't it like we could just call it So nothing really surprised me Nikko is gonna be a huge miss. I wouldn't be surprised if

Dobes (22:42.281)
Yeah, yeah.

Hen (22:59.083)
if we don't go out and get another forward before the season starts, or if, if we don't do it then certainly in the next transfer window, getting another forward. Um, cause I just think that Nico is going to be a huge, huge hole to fill.

Hoov (23:15.755)
The way, and this will sound weird, and I'm sure that some might not have the same opinion, because he did score 10 goals, but we never really nailed down what Nico's best position was or where he played on the field. And, you know, some of the goals he scored were, I mean, he scored a couple worldies. I'm not even going to front. So I think with that being said, the biggest issues that we're losing such a skilled young player up top.

Dobes (23:28.085)
I agree with that 100%. Yeah.

Hen (23:28.368)
Totally true.

Hen (23:36.324)

Hoov (23:44.935)
But I think now if you look at the striker core in Klaus and Sam, Big Sam, you know where those guys are going to play, you know how they're going to play. So I think to a certain degree, first off, insane business, insane business from St. Louis City, picking up a kid in an expansion draft for free basically, and then turning him around and letting him go pursue his dream for two million and potentially more if they get promoted.

Hen (24:06.054)

Hen (24:12.357)

Hoov (24:15.151)
That's ridiculous business. Every penny of that transfer fee comes back to the club and the club gets to use it as they feel fit. So while I'm bummed that he's not gonna be here, I think there was a plan and identity in mind already with him going out before he did. And now, honestly, it's Sam Adrenan's shoes to fill. So that's gonna be the biggest loss.

You know how I feel about wing backs and how critical I am of them. John Nelson, man, we saw day one, I saw him touch the ball twice and was like, it's going to be a long season on the left and the right back. So yeah.

Hen (24:52.521)
Yeah, literally.

Dobes (24:54.964)
We saw him get beat in preseason against City that led to one of our goals as well.

Hen (24:59.647)
Yeah, yeah.

Hen (25:33.583)
Yeah, see what he does. Yeah.

Hoov (25:34.723)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Dobes (25:47.264)
Yeah, I listened to an interview.

Hen (25:47.511)
Yeah, and I'm glad too because the USL, like the USL gives him the chance to play against, sorry bro, I'm just like, you know, the whole like, you know, when two people start talking on this thing, we do the, oh, you, and it's like, fuck it, I'm going to own it, bro. I'm just going to start going.

Hoov (25:59.619)

Dobes (26:02.314)
That's why I just started laughing. I was like, yeah, just go ahead, dude.

Hen (26:05.691)
Whatever, you know, but you know playing in the USL in comparison to just playing with the like the MLS next pro team like playing with the st Louis city to such a better move for the kid because he's playing against actual adults He's playing against actual men who like they can bully him off the ball. They've been there They've done that and like it's not just a bunch of like 18 year old kids like him and he gets real actual experience It's like I don't know. I think about sometimes in Europe where

you know, you have someone in like the U 18s or like you 17s, you 21s, and then they go to a championship club on loan. It's such a better decision than just staying with the U 18s or staying with you 21. So I'm, I'm with you, Nick. And I know that you called it out eight months ago about how he needs to go out on loan and get some experience. So good shout there. But I'm also excited for that. I do hope that he balls out and this is just a great example of you're not there yet.

Go get some experience and either prove it or we'll move you on is what it is.

Hoov (27:08.408)
The sicko in me, I'm with Nick too, that I'm going to be trying to find these streams for these USL games because the sicko in me was watching Birmingham Legion supporters groups chat about the 60 minutes that he played in a USL preseason game and we're very excited about what they saw. So, you know, I'm pumped to see the development, like you mentioned in the Europe situation, you know, if I wanted to go watch

Alfie DeVine, you know, the alone from Spurs play with Portsmith in the championship. I'm going to pull up ESPN+. I know that's there. I'm trying to track on my 18 year olds, you know, loan journey, and I'm going to be finding bootleg YouTube screen streams to be able to see him take five touches. On some mom literally videoing it side to side. Um, so yeah, I think that was.

Dobes (27:53.125)
on some shitty camera that's...

Hen (27:57.731)
Yeah, yeah.

Hoov (28:01.823)
I think that was the best move in terms of the squad itself and the outgoings. I think the best business was Nico. Back to the Nico thing, I'm just glad that we're going to give those guys a chance. We're not ever going to sit here and be like, I can't believe they're leaving St. Louis City because I'm more than happy to be that jump pad from lower level to us.

Hen (28:05.862)

Hen (28:14.405)

Hoov (28:28.255)
to springboarding someone into a higher level quality of play. So happy about that for sure. Yeah, and come on Legion.

Dobes (28:38.424)
That's what I watched a Cardinal interview from CBS because I'm an MLS fan. And during the interview, he made a point to like, say that Citi wants to establish themselves as a club that will one, let their players go, sort of live their dream and two, like if you think of just any of our own clubs or anybody, like you have to establish that relationship that you're gonna be good at buying and selling players regardless.

Like reputation means something. The way that Lutz and the team approach business is how teams are gonna expect them to approach business like moving forward, you know? And so the fact that we're willing to, one, go find these players, develop them, like it makes us a destination that's worth coming to. You know, people will want to come here, play for two years, ball out, because then they're gonna get their chance. That's a great segue just leading into the players that we actually did bring in the transfer market this year. So looking at...

I guess let's just start with the wing backs. We're going to start with who's wing backs. We all said last year that like wing backs was a, was our weakest spot. Um, so first off we brought in 22 year old Danish left back, Nicholas Dyer from FC Midgetland, butchered that I'm sure, um, from the Danish Superliga, eh, not too bad, right? Um, for 500 K. Yeah, there we go. There it is. It was said, um, for 500 K.

Hoov (29:51.558)
That's pretty good.

Hen (29:54.051)
Manchester United rivals, baby.

Dobes (30:01.488)
Now he is listed on I'm looking at transfer market. He's listed as a left back left winger As well as a left forward sometimes. Um, so we'll sort of see what he pans out to play. Um, then we also have 24 Then we also have 24 dual international, uh, american and norwegian Uh transfer market has been the right back fat mom has was the left back So we're just going to call him the utility man, uh thomas tautland from Hacking in sweden. We signed him for 455k

Then we brought in 23 year old holding midfielder, Chris Durkin from DC United for 278K. Finally, the one I have listed just because we didn't sign him, but we did draft him, an MLS SuperDraft 20 year old Japanese midfielder, Kojima, who in my opinion, excuse me from Wake Forest, who in my opinion, I don't think he's necessarily signed, but in my opinion, I think could be a key piece for us moving forward. Who are you guys most excited about from this group? I guess I should say.

Hen (30:54.479)
For me, bro, it's Durkin. The reason is, is from what we saw with him in the pre-season, and I also want to let the Hoof have his wing backs ramp, but what we saw from Durkin in the pre-season is he's not afraid to break up play. He also has a screamer in him. He will play a long ball. He seems to me,

Like Blom, for example, especially first half of the season, Blom was breaking up play. He was here, he was there, he was everywhere. The only limitation to his game was he wasn't really a great progressor of the ball, where Durkin feels like he is that guy that breaks up play. He's a natural six and he's not afraid to spray the ball in different places or play the simple easy pass. So for me, it's Durkin.

Hoov (31:42.537)

Hoov (32:16.755)
Oh yeah, Kojima too, for sure, before I take my piece. He was so calm and composed on the ball and I think we'd mentioned it in a previous podcast, but I think he could play the role that we thought Mickey was going to play last year. Like I really do think he's gonna have legs, really, really smart player, simple, consistent, and we don't need him to be anybody if he does get game time.

Hen (32:43.439)

Hoov (32:49.463)
Yeah, yeah, a little bit.

You know, nothing, and Miggy deserves 100% where he's at in his career, but you don't go to Wake Forest and suck. That's just not how that works. So, happy for him, and I hope to see him in the future, and I do think he could be one for the future. I think he's what, someone say 20 years old or so, only?

Hen (33:02.823)
I'm gonna go to bed.

Hen (33:15.159)
Yeah, 21, something like that.

Hoov (33:17.815)
I, you know, everything I've watched about Japanese footballers in Europe and beyond, I love. I love everything about them. They're students of the game, they're simple, calm, composed, and I really think he exemplifies a lot of those characteristics.

You know I'm gonna talk about these wingpacks. Umm... I- When he-

Hen (33:36.351)
Come on, Hoof! Let's have it, bro!

Dobes (33:38.38)
But bro, I feel like you should get a Jersey in the custom thing in the Jersey that the name should just be wingback. Like you don't need a name, just wingbacks.

Hoov (33:46.231)
wing back, just wing back. I know I want to put Tottenham on a kit, but I've seen the guy play a collective 60 minutes in sketchy preseason Coachella Valley, you know, views. So when he came on in the second half of one of the preseason games, he touched the ball twice and a full tear rolled down my cheek. I was so happy to see a wing back

Hen (33:46.267)
It was just wing vaccine.

Dobes (34:12.139)

Hoov (34:16.059)
Composure the ability to get up and back he's stuck in a tackle and he can connect play he's fast The the small amounts of things I've seen from him have me giddy Because we said it already the number one position on the pitch every match almost it didn't even matter who it was We wanted Watson for a while on the right. We wanted Mark Anitch in on the left We saw those guys to have their own individual poor matches poor moments

This was the biggest pickup we could have made. I'm so excited for him. And I don't even know how we're gonna use Dyer or Totland frankly yet, because we've got FOP Mob and Transfer Market saying that they play seven different positions collectively. So I just don't know where he's gonna come in, but I know that he's gonna be a huge part of it. Being able to use some width.

is something that I think is gonna be so key for us this year because of the way that we've seen Carnell set these teams up. They're just narrow. It is what it is. You're gonna get sick of me hearing that or saying that. But being able to connect play from those positions on the field was not something that we saw the entirety of last year. And to have some competent defending skills too. I don't have any issue with Jake Nierwinski's, you know, defending ability, but as soon as he got on the ball going forward, it was like, all right.

You know, he's gonna need to get back here in a second. Like, I thought, yeah, he has got a good cross on him, but, you know, outside a few of those things, it's just the most lacking position. So, I'm giddy about him. I do have PTSD as a Spurs fan with a man in the back line named Dyer. That scares the crap out of me, frankly. But I'm hands down more excited for those guys than I am about anyone else. I think Durkin too, obviously,

Hen (36:03.781)

Dobes (36:04.545)

Hoov (36:13.719)
deserves a shout out. We didn't just send 275 for him. We sent 275 and Stroud and Bartlett. He's a 23 year old, probably fringe, extremely fringe national team player. But one thing I heard or I read today that I thought was interesting was that he actually played with Klaus in Belgium. When Klaus was playing in Belgium, he was a teammate and they were boys from what it sounds like from Jau. So

Hen (36:20.847)

Hen (36:34.008)
Yeah, yeah.

Dobes (36:34.775)

Hoov (36:41.823)
his you know, nod of approval on Durkin was spoke volumes to me like, you know, not only is he a good character, which I think we've really kind of built the team around and you know, something that the Cardinals do and the blues not as much but blues do. We want good people like the culture needs to be around it. So I was glad to hear that and you know, if Klaus is a guy's baller, I think he's a baller. He's got the most

ball knowledge to me, you know, with his experience in Europe, for him to have the grounds to say that. So, I'm excited about the pickups. Man, we just needed those wingbacks, bro. I'm going to be so excited to see them streaking up the field.

Dobes (37:24.656)
From for me, it's Durkin too, just because I know I've mentioned this in a previous pod after watching him play in the preseason games Blom has some inconsistency Blom when he's very good is very good But oftentimes there were those games where we didn't play our best It was because Blom wasn't necessarily playing his best and I think Durkin's gonna be that guy one I think there is a world where they can play together But to Blom has some competition now to where I think Durkin can play as at six. I think he can play as an eight I think he can play that sort of a hybrid role as well to where

Maybe you can leave some of that pleasure for Blom and let Blom do sort of the dirty work. Um, so I'm really looking forward to Durkhan. It's to me, it's not necessarily all positive in terms of the transfer, in terms of the transfer window, like obviously we've done all of this sort of praising of the past season, you know, um, of Lutz, of Carolyn, of sort of the whole team from my, from, I guess, from my perspective, I wish we would have done a little bit more in the transfer market. So with sort of having this sort of, I guess it's full roster construction that we have now.

Obviously, like who've said, we've seen three preseason games. We've seen 45 minutes of one line at 45 minutes of line up and sometimes 60 minutes of a line up with 30 minutes of different guys. Is there anything right now before a game has even been played that you guys wish we would have done in the transfer?

Hoov (38:40.187)
I think we're-

Hoov (39:25.335)
with you wholeheartedly and I'm gonna piggyback and go one step further. A dynamic winger I know is what Doves was calling out for. I'm watching us transition to the style of play that doesn't use dynamic wingers which makes me nervous for our boy Salio but you're right I also forget that Rasmus Alms on the team like I truthfully he he's been out forever he had a bad stint with

Hen (39:48.068)
Yeah, 100%.

Dobes (39:50.06)
Been out forever.

Hoov (39:55.203)
And I never really got the full grasp of what he is going to bring to the team. But I think that player profile of his is something that I would have loved to see come in. Like you said, Nick, not necessarily another big striker, but a forward focused player that is dynamic, is fast, can put in a, you know, put in a shift and get up and back. I'm excited to see Alm come back because I think it's going to feel like a new signing.

But yeah, 100%, that's the number one area of concern. Because we really did, we went out and covered a lot of the positions that we already were concerned about. Never in my life have I followed a football team and been like, all right, well, I know for a fact we need to fix this, and this position. And then they did it. So that doesn't happen. That doesn't happen in world football. So that, no.

Hen (40:45.551)
It doesn't happen at Spurs, brother. Yeah, it doesn't happen at Spurs. I'll tell you that much. Yeah.

Dobes (40:45.827)
Ever for some clubs, ever for some clubs.

Hoov (40:50.023)
It's the first time in my Spurs career that I'm actually watching people come in and play roles that we want them to. So they're doing it. I'm excited about that. Little nervous about up top. And I think the guy that we haven't mentioned that there's going to be a lot on the shoulders of is Thor, Thorsoons. So we're going to get to the individual names on the team sheet and give thoughts. But that's where I'm at with that for sure.

Dobes (41:17.714)
And anything from you.

Hen (41:18.855)
Nah, same same. I think that it's one of the reasons why Nico's gonna be a huge, huge miss is because he was that secondary striker that he could play a 10, he could play a winger, he could play the nine if he needed to. I've said it for months. Sam and Klaus do not work with one another. They don't work with one another. They're not the right build with each other. I don't think Thor is that guy. Who knows, maybe Alma's that guy if and when he ever gets healthy,

I think we're missing a true secondary striker. And the other thing that we haven't mentioned about Nico's departure, Nico won us a ton of free kicks. And sometimes it was annoying. Sometimes he went down too easy and all that stuff. That man won probably more free kicks than anyone else on the field and he could do it. Yeah, totally. Totally. Like he did it. Yeah. Literally. Yeah. So like

Hoov (42:00.772)

Dobes (42:05.592)
Those players are important though, man. Yeah.

Hoov (42:07.684)

We were great on Set Pieces. Get Tim Parker's big head up.

Hen (42:16.203)
Yeah, so I think that is something that it's an underrated aspect of his game, but we'll be missing that a lot and not saying that we need to go out and sign Niko Giochini, but like get a creative player that can win those fouls that smart and can play off of Klaus that can play off of Luvin. That's what we're missing. We're missing someone to fill that like eight to nine role and that could be a 10. It could just be a secondary striker. You know, I just

That's what I think we're missing. And then I really look favorably on our roster.

Hoov (42:47.744)
I'm genuinely scared that we're looking at Klaus as the secondary striker now. That is my number one concern.

Hen (42:51.407)
which I hate like it. Yeah, that did not work in preseason. It's not good. Like it's taking dobes. You talked about this last pod, but like it's taking away where he's most dangerous on the pitch out of necessity. But like, it's just not good, bro. I think it's gonna get really old, really fast between those two. And yeah, we got, we got to invest in that.

Dobes (43:16.66)
For me, my biggest concern looking at this roster, and yes, I get that it's important because we are in three competitions, but to me, it seems like we have a ton of players who can play a lot of positions, but aren't necessarily great at any single one, which can be a great thing. You know, AZ can play winger, Thor can play winger, Klaus can maybe play this, like somebody can play wide, he can play... To me, it's like, if you're not necessarily great at one thing, like you're kind of average at everything. I guess that's a good thing for...

you know, for multiple competitions. But at the same time, I do think that most of these MLS teams you see or just teams you see play all over the world, they have kind of that 11. And, you know, when you play in big games, you have that 11. You want to change a key piece. But if a key piece is like a nine that's playing as a 10 or a 10 that's playing as a nine, like that's a that's a massive switch, not just in formation, but potentially how you play. To me, that's a little bit concerning just going into the season, looking at you have a bunch of guys that can play a lot of different positions.

but they're not really great at w-

Dobes (44:35.676)
Yeah, I completely agree. Um, we'll see. Uh, so moving on, we're going to talk through our expectations. I think it's only right. We start first with sort of our overall team expectations for this season. Obviously we talked about being in the podcast, uh, bar set fellas, you know, w we won the league, I think most of us aren't going to, or excuse me, won the Western conference, I think most of us aren't going to say that that's a necessity. Um, well, they're happy to go around individually. We can talk about individual competitions, sort of however you guys want to do it. But I guess what are your expectations going into 2024?

Obviously we're in three competitions. We're in the CONCACF Champions League, the Leagues Cup again, I'm in the league. So who wants to start? I'm happy to let anybody dive in.

Hen (45:13.991)
I can. Back to back, yeah, let's win the conference. That is not my expectation. If it's yours, that's fine. For me, it's it's, you know, be competitive in each of the tournaments. So in the CONCACAF Champions League, I'm looking to get out of the group. The the Leagues Cup get out of the group. Last year, we got destroyed in the Leagues Cup.

Dobes (45:16.756)

Hen (45:36.699)
And then I want to finish top four in the league, as you know, or not in the league, sorry, in the conference, top eight, you know, go to playoffs, top four, host playoff games. I think that top four hosting a playoff game or like getting that, you know, one in three, cause it's the best of three games. I think that that's success for us. Um, a different teams across Europe and other competitions, like we see the, the strain that it puts on the.

team that it puts on the players and the coaches playing in multiple, multiple different tournaments in multiple different formats. So I think if we can stay competitive in each one of the tournaments that we're in and then get top four of the conference, I think that's hugely successful. And that's from a regular season perspective. We got to make it past the first round of playoffs. Like I think, yeah, like, you know, because it

Hoov (46:26.635)

Dobes (46:27.727)
I was getting ready to ask you that.

Hen (46:32.399)
The MLS is weird in that way of like you can us we had regular season success. We get a banner in the rafter technically because we finished at the top of the conference and that's cool. Um, but we don't do anything.

Dobes (46:46.344)
I don't want to be a club that hangs those. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, I get it. I get it. Yeah.

Hen (46:48.903)
For sure,

Hen (47:16.751)
birth, it's making it past that first round to show maturity, to show progress. Um, that's what we have to see. And I, and I, and I don't know if I can call it a success if it's any other way. Um, we could finish first in the entire league and get knocked out first round. It doesn't matter. Um, so that's for me, what success looks like. I'm not too concerned with like winning the CONCACAF champions league or the leagues cup, I actually don't really care about either. I just want to stay competitive.

Hoov (47:43.867)
Thank you.

Hen (47:44.895)
show good progress and like make it out of the groups of each one of those.

Hoov (47:47.932)
Thank you.

Dobes (48:22.637)

Hoov (48:24.399)
Give me a trophy.

Hen (48:25.981)
Yeah bro come on!

Hoov (48:27.835)
Give me a trophy. I'm not gonna say a playoff win won't feel like a level up from last year. They've gone and just made me a spoiled football fan though. So, give me a trophy. We don't.

Hen (48:40.237)
Yes, sir.

Hen (48:43.715)
And what would be cool is that would be like, that would be your first trophy in all of your fandom ever. You know what I'm saying? Like, yeah.

Hoov (48:49.039)
Ever. I'm 25, I'm 27 years old and the Spurs haven't won one since I was 20, or since I was, you know, 2011 or whatever when they won the Mickey Mouse. So yeah, brother, I'm going to need, I don't really need to see a trophy. All jokes aside, I don't think that was, is the only thing that would give me, you know, oh, it was better than last year. I want to see a playoff win. I want to celebrate downtown St. Louis at Maggie O'Brien's.

Dobes (49:02.488)
I'm sorry.

Hoov (49:15.831)
with thousands of my closest best friends and just rage after a playoff win. I think that's the benchmark. But for real, give me a trophy. We're in three competitions. I said it last year, I could give a care about the league's cup. I think it's a cash grab. I think it's dumb. There is obviously a prize at the end and you do get into the CCL and whatever, whatever. But we've worked ourselves into this position to where

Three years go by lads and we don't see a trophy. Like that's, I'm gonna start beating the drum on. We need to do better. So my thought is set this expectation now. We have no reason not to think we're gonna be one of the best eight to 10 teams in the league. I truthfully think that we'd top four, I think in the conference is a perfect expectation. I wanna have home field advantage for at least one match in the playoff schedule.

Hen (49:50.767)
Yeah, we need to change. Yeah.

Hoov (50:13.171)
We're just not far off from me being like, I want to raise silverware. So I'm gonna set that now. Like the way that we saw it go last year, if there's any regression at all, we're gonna be pissed. So where do you go from there? Up, that's it, that's the only way. We're not gonna win the CCO, right? I wholeheartedly don't believe that.

I don't think we win the Leagues Cup unless they rig it again, keep it all in North American soil. There's a chance that you take, you know, Club America or something like that on the run. But winning a playoff game, that's number one, that's elite tier for me. I was so unbelievably devastated at the end of last year and I saw it coming that I just don't want to crash out like that again. I want to get beat by...

you know, a comfortably better team, not the eighth place team that won their last match day to sneak into the eighth place spot. Like, obviously they were on a search, but I want to see competitive competitiveness and fight in all three competitions. Trophies Dreamland, but we weren't that far from Dreamland. At the end of the day, we're pretty close. But, you know, we relate it all back to the preseason and what we saw and what we think is going to happen. I'm still nervous.

Like, I'm not confident that we're gonna come out of the blocks like we did last year. I'm not confident that we're gonna make it out of the groups. But they shot themselves in the foot if they were worried about building expectations for the fans, because I want to see Berkey lift a damn trophy.

Hen (51:54.7)

Dobes (51:56.184)
To me, fellas, it's very tough to gauge expectations just because these are literally polar opposite seasons in my opinion. Like last year, we had zero expectations. Half of the media expected us to finish last. Even we were going on this magical run, everybody expected it to end. We had no pressure on us at any point. Even if we got knocked out, we're the new boys on the block.

You know, I think we had a title to this podcast, but the new kids on the block, they had no pressure. And again, I listened to the interview with Berkey that did on CBS again, go MLS that he sat there and he talked about their three fourths of the season. And these guys are talking about the records that they can break, you know? And that to me is not necessarily a mentality that says, Hey, we're going to go on and win the league. Hey, we're going to go into on a deep run in the playoffs. That's saying they're exceeding expectations. They're kind of happy with exceeding expectations.

And therefore we're kind of happy with last year. So to me, obviously I think I'm happy with the top six and in the league. Like I think top four is, is great. Top six to me is definitely do is definitely doable mainly because. Everybody wants us, you know, everybody wants to beat us. We're the top dogs. Everybody wants to come at our place. City parks, a tough place to play. We're going to get everybody's best shot. Not that we wouldn't before, but now everybody wants to beat us. Just think if somebody went, you know, um,

Hoov (53:01.977)

Dobes (53:14.824)
City wins the league, they're the standard, right? They're the standard throughout the entire league. And so that's where I think we'll be better equipped to deal with those expectations because we've dealt with it through last year. Now we sort of know how we have to approach it. But to me within the league, it's kind of top six. And I think you have to win a playoff series. I don't care if you're a home, I don't care if you're away. I think you have to win a playoff series. We have the experience, we were at home. Those players sit there, it's that cheesy, you know, seeing Stefan dig, sit there and watch Patrick Mahomes, watch the confetti down.

All that cheesy stuff. We have those guys now who have been there and done that and realized that even if we leave the regular season, it doesn't matter. So to me, top six, but being able to peak towards the end of the season is what I think is crazy. It is means more to me. To me, to me, might as well throw in the league's cup out the window. Truthfully, it's like, I think it only kind of means something a little bit because Messi won it last year. Like if Messi, if Messi doesn't win that last year, I don't care about it all. To me, it's kind of like a care about cup or an FA Cup.

Hen (54:01.509)

Hen (54:05.776)

Dobes (54:12.428)
Whatever you want to call it. To me, the cock a calf champions league is where I want to see us do a little bit of damage though, because truthfully, this is our chance to, I know it's not the world stage. I know it's not as big as a champions league, but this is sort of our chance to be like, all right, we're going to play against these top teams from around North America. Let's, let's do some damage. Like let's, let's prove to people. And like, we can start next week against Houston to say, Hey, we're here. But making a deep run in the cock a calf champions league to me, it's like, we may not win the league.

Hoov (54:18.299)

Dobes (54:39.576)
If we do win the league, fantastic. But if we don't win the league, you guys can't sit here and say that if we win the CONCACAF Champions League, that we're not going to be on top of the world. You know? So, so, so that's where it's like, I think a trophy is huge, but like a deep run. I'll be happy with leagues cup to me does not, does not matter at all. And I think top six, top four in the West and then winning a playoff series, that's, that's gold. Second season. We don't really necessarily know what we have yet in terms of how we're going to look, but to me that's success. Now I know, go ahead.

Hen (54:46.299)
God, I'll be stoked, bro.

Hoov (55:09.16)
Dude, if you're telling me that we win the CONCACAF Champions League and we're not taking an away day to Abu Dhabi to watch them play Man City, you're drunk, bro. I'm emptying my bank account to go see the lads play Kevin De Bruyne. That's elite. You made a good point too about the target on the back thing. We hung 10 on Austin last year. You don't think they're going to want to come back and just beat the snot out of us?

Hen (55:18.735)
Absolutely, bro.

Dobes (55:19.987)
Haha! Oh! Yes sir!

Hen (55:37.263)
Yeah, absolutely.

Hoov (55:37.335)
Like that happened to so many teams.

Dobes (55:37.461)

Dobes (55:42.633)

Hoov (55:43.205)
Cape Keller lost his MLS career.

Hen (55:43.651)
He's out. Yeah.

Dobes (55:48.236)
Now, I know that us in the group chat, I know Hoov and I specifically have talked about it a little bit. Coming into the season, the expectations are high because of what happened last year, but I don't necessarily think it's all like, you know, Rays and Rainbows coming into this season. I think a few of us have a little bit of concerns about the roster construction, what it's gonna look like, how we're gonna play. I'm happy to go first, sir. I know Hoov has some stuff he wants to get off his chest as well, but Nikki, Hen, I know there's definitely some concerns coming into this season.

Hen (57:12.547)
Yeah, I'll keep mine short. I am nervous. I think the number one thing is I'm nervous about scoring goals. I already mentioned what I thought about the striker position not working and not having a secondary striker. I'll say that is what it is. I feel a little bit more solidified in the center midfield position. We could even see someone get injured in the center midfield position. I still feel fine about our depth there.

but that's really it in terms of depth that I feel confident about. And then, you know, Niki, to your point of like that mentality of like, who's gonna be the guy that steps up when things are hard or whenever it is. If there was already complacency creeping into the locker room last year when it was like, you know, look at all these things that we can break or these records that we can break or people feeling like maybe they've already made it when they haven't, like I'm nervous more than anything about the complacency.

in the locker room of these guys thinking that they've already done it. And I think that it could be a massive regression of a season. And I don't want to sound doom and gloom, but, um, man, I don't know the conversations going on inside the locker room, but if I were in that locker room right now, I would be banging that drum of like, you haven't done shit yet. You haven't earned anything yet. Like you, you still have to come out there and, and it's like a new manager bounce. You can win a game. You can do well for a season, but you know,

Claudio Ranieri got sacked this season after that they won the league. You know, it's like, it just is what it is. So you gotta, you gotta, you gotta figure that shit out. So that that's what I'm nervous about. And yeah, that's all I'll say.

Hoov (58:53.948)
The... Nick said it. The new kids on the block thing helped in the sense that I thought a lot of teams didn't take us seriously. Not even through the first five, through the first half of the season. I think a lot of teams were like, they're not gonna keep getting these lucky goals, they're not gonna keep... Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you know, I think there's... That played a role.

Dobes (59:03.208)

Dobes (59:07.48)
Thank you.

Dobes (59:14.552)
Keep getting the back passes to our forwards.

Hoov (59:21.943)
for sure. So we don't have that anymore. Everyone knows how good we were and how good we can be. I'm nervous about that. I'm just still, we're gonna say this a lot and I know Dobes feels the same, he mentioned it, but I'm just not sold on the formation and the tactics. We're not gonna get different formations or tactics though.

Hen (59:42.467)
Yeah, totally.

Dobes (59:42.52)

Hoov (59:46.959)
I think there's a world where we could maybe switch to a five back more of a three back thing with Dyer and Totland, which makes me feel okay, because those guys are competent. But every time we played a five back last year was absolutely disastrous, miserable, some of the worst football I've ever seen. So the concern is the approach to matches. I'm all for taking the approach of.

Dobes (01:00:03.338)

Hoov (01:00:13.807)
we're gonna play you the same every week, doesn't matter who you are. I love it. I think there's something admirable about it. But when you like look at like an Ange Pasta Coglu Spurs, they're really good at it. They do it well. Like we...

Dobes (01:00:27.496)
We need a Spurs-mentioned counter, like on the top right here or something.

Hoov (01:00:30.159)
I think we're on three or four. Yeah. They just, you know what's gonna happen and the other team knows what's gonna happen and they're gonna do their best to try and negate it, but it doesn't always work. I think we got figured out. I think we got negated. I think the game plan a lot of times, even if we are taking that approach of, you know, press, sometimes people figure that out. They set up well. They know how to defend it. They know how to counter it.

Hen (01:00:30.566)

Hoov (01:00:59.883)
So that is truthfully my biggest concern. Um, I don't have an issue with car now signing an extension. You know, I think it's. He, he earned it. I, you know, I think he's a great leader. I think there's a lot of qualities to really like about him. And I think the guys like him, which is seriously at the end of the day, it's important thing. Um, and everyone's bought it. So as long as those three pieces carry us forward, um, I think we're going to be okay and.

Dobes (01:01:08.084)
He earned it here. He 100% earned it. Yeah.

Hoov (01:01:29.003)
Roman Berkey, bro, Roman Berkey is not gonna be cool with no shit. He's not gonna play no games this year. Like at the end of the day, he's a freaking competitor. He wants to win. He wants to lift trophies. He's lifted trophies. He wants to do that again. He knows how important it is to the city. Everything he's mentioned in the media is just, you know, glowing admiration for us and for the fans and for the city and for the team and for the buildup and how it all has come together. Uh, I, I.

Hen (01:01:34.917)

Dobes (01:01:34.955)

Hoov (01:01:56.471)
I don't think there will be as much complacency this year just because there can't be. There's not room for it in the locker room. We've got pundits saying we're going to be okay. We've got pundits saying we're going to be bad. I think they blocked that all out this year and I think he's going to be the key piece and leader in the locker room to make sure that we don't lose sight of what's important.

Dobes (01:02:17.496)
Absolutely. I'll kind of piggyback off who've truthfully my biggest concern kind of surrounds our back four, I would say. And I think the reason being is because we are adding new pieces to as wing backs. We saw Nielsen and Parker last year who weren't necessarily great together to be honest in the games that we played. And then you add wing backs. It does take time to understand when a wing back's going to go forward, when they're going to step up. And yes, that could be coached throughout the season.

But that's a main concern to me. And truthfully, I'm going to be honest, just like I would be with the team that I, the team that I support. I'm a little nervous like for, for Carnell. And I truthfully mean that because I sent this to Hoover and Henny the day, like when you look at our expected points based off of last year, like we were 14th in the league on expected points, so we won a lot of games that we probably didn't deserve to win. And that's already concerning itself. But to me, Carnell, like when you look at some of the best managers in the world,

Everybody knows how Manchester City is going to play. Everybody kind of knows how Liverpool is going to play. But the thing about what they do so well is you look at a Liverpool. They press, but they pick their moments to press. They don't come out in the first five minutes of the game and press every single time some moments. They'll keep possession. And this is where I get a little bit about concerned about Cornell. It's like maybe some games let's start out the first 10 15 minutes. Let's look like we're going to possess the ball a little bit. You know, let's keep the ball. Let's play and that all of a sudden. Let's let's have that. Let's get some 15 minute mark.

Let's get that, that high counter-attacking press going and keep teams by, catch teams by surprise. Cause everybody now is going to come into the game being like, all right, St. Louis city is going to go balls to the wall, pushing us forward. Going to make it tough to play. And eventually you can be figured out. These players, even though the MLS isn't the best league in the world, they can still play. Like you watch an LAFC play, you watch how sporting Kansas city play this. These teams that can keep the ball can break down a press. And my concern is can car now figure out.

how to get through those moments. Can he put the right players in the right positions to be able to break down teams in different ways than just score goals by a Kip Keller back pass or set pieces. Those are great ways to win games. And at the end of the day, you have to have the mentality to do that. But to me, that's also a concern is can we replicate that? Because now teams know exactly what to expect from us.

Hoov (01:04:36.167)
It's those minor adjustments. Yeah.

Hen (01:04:36.279)
I love that Kip Keller just catches strays on this podcast for like months, bro. I know. Yeah.

Dobes (01:04:38.972)
I know, I know, St. Louis, St. Louis boy, I'm sorry, dude.

Hen (01:04:48.681)

Dobes (01:04:52.536)
Well, it's I am I'm jacked. Yeah, it's the minor adjustments that make teams great. Like you can have all of the best players you can have. Look at Inter Miami right now, and this is not a great comparison. But like if you watch some of the preseason games, they have arguably what the five best players in the MLS four best players on paper in the MLS. They have looked terrible and Tata has not figured out a way for them to play. And he's like, he's a top manager. He might be the top manager in the MLS in terms of what he's done.

Hoov (01:04:52.911)
It's those minor adjustments, man.

Hoov (01:04:58.489)

Hoov (01:05:17.871)
Stop. Yeah.

Dobes (01:05:20.696)
Carnell will gain a ton of experience from last year and kind of what we went through, but I'd be lying if I wasn't concerned, is he gonna be able to figure out how to put the right pieces in the right spots?

Hen (01:05:32.152)

Dobes (01:05:32.222)
All right, go ahead.

Hen (01:05:34.595)
Well, I was just gonna say, I know that we're gonna dive into like these individual, like these individual perspectives of like, you know, we have a couple of questions here and not to jump the gun on this. But like, you asked one of the questions of like, who's on the hot seat, and carnell is actually on mine. So you know, a couple months ago, when it were a couple weeks ago, when it was announced, you know, on the pod, we gave him props, like props on him and getting the extension, you said it's deserved. I

I don't know, man. There's no doubt that you achieved the success that you achieved in the regular season. It's great, surpassed expectations. To me, I'm like, but we didn't need to give him an extension yet. Like for me, I thought he was on a two. Okay, so fine, fine. My bad, I thought that he was on a two, but for me, he is on the hot seat. Like those little adjustments that need to happen.

Dobes (01:06:17.876)
He was only on a one year. So like we, no, he was on a one year. We had to.

Hoov (01:06:22.316)
Oh, okay.

Hen (01:06:32.735)
I haven't seen him make those. And you know, if we want to have that success, if we want to figure that stuff out long-term, he does have to figure that out. So like, great, had a good first season. And now that I know that he was on a one, cool. Earned your extension there. But like, he, for me, this is the make or break season of like, is he for real or was it this like, new team, new kid on the block mentality, but he's actually leading the line on my hot seat thought.

Hoov (01:06:47.597)

Dobes (01:07:01.448)
I mean, that's a great transition into sort of our individuals here in terms of individual expectations. I guess we just start there. Obviously we've seen the roster construction. We've seen the players that played last year. I don't think we necessarily can include sort of obviously the newbies in the hot seat, but from your perspective, what player I guess is on the hot seat in terms of you need most to deliver the season?

Hen (01:07:09.136)

Hen (01:07:24.055)
I have two. You know, I have Klaus in Blom. So Klaus, he established himself as one of like the sweethearts and one of the darlings of the team early on, but then he was injured for like the majority of the season. He comes back and gets a major injury again this season or he doesn't deliver. You're just looking at a guy who...

Should be performing better than he does and you don't want to just have the guy who's leading the line under performing and just not Doing it like we don't need that from our guy So I think he's up there and then Blom from the consistency standpoint you mentioned it earlier when he's on he's on when he's not On man, it can be really bad And I think he's also one of the guys that

he needs to figure out what role he wants to play. Is he gonna be that six who deserves to start every single game? Cause the consistency is there. Cause if not, you gotta go somewhere else. Like you gotta, you can't show up and be inconsistent. So I think saying someone like Jake Nowinski is like an easy route because like, obviously he got, you know, some, we signed a guy to replace him and whatever. But like to me, it's Klaus and Blom of like, they're supposed to be two of our dogs. And if you're not performing,

you gotta move on, you gotta look elsewhere. So that's for me, between Carnell, Klaus, and Blom, those are my three hot seats.

Dobes (01:08:46.824)
Hoof. Bic.

Hoov (01:08:54.862)
I have two names here and I thought of a third one. I think Big Sam's got a lot to prove this year. I think not only is he filling in a 10 goal score season for Giacchini, you know, we sent him out on loan last year. We pulled him back from loan. He scored some big striker goals. There's no way around that. But for me,

Hen (01:09:01.551)

Hoov (01:09:17.155)
You have to improve on what Nico did, that to be able to call yourself that certified, you know, starter, striker, something like that. I think that he's gonna need to add a piece or two to his game. We know what he's got. We know he's big. We know he's a demon in the box. We know he's fast as hell and he'll beat anyone on a one-on-one sprint. We've not seen him take someone on. We've not seen him link play well. We've not seen him, you know, excellent on the ball or anything like that.

Hen (01:09:42.161)

Hoov (01:09:46.103)
So I think he's gonna have some pieces like that to improve on. And my other one is interesting because he didn't really get a ton of clock last year. But Thorsen is just an enigma to me. And I don't know, I'm not sold, I don't know what his position is. I don't know where he plays his strongest. I don't know if he knows where he plays his strongest.

Dobes (01:10:01.623)
I'm not sold.

Hoov (01:10:13.455)
I'm curious to see not only his usage and his minutes, but how he connects with other players. There's not a ton of things that I can sit here and be like, I love this, and this that he does. And that's partially from a lack of seeing him in general. He just didn't get a ton of clock last year. But when he did, I just didn't see a ton of production. He's a tall, lanky winger from what I understand,

Hoov (01:10:45.611)
There's not too much to build on to be like, here's what he should do. I don't know what he should do. I don't know what he's going to play, I don't know where he's going to play, I don't know how much he's going to play. But I'm curious to see his progression and I'm curious to see even where Carnell decides he should play. So that one's going to be the most interesting one to me. Every other guy that we list, we've got like, okay.

Hen (01:11:05.338)

Hoov (01:11:11.299)
Here's what they did right, here's what they did wrong, here's what they should improve on. I don't know those answers for Thor, so curious on that one, definitely.

Hen (01:11:17.307)

Dobes (01:11:20.96)
Thank you.

Dobes (01:11:30.686)
Mine are different too.

Hen (01:12:27.387)

Dobes (01:12:33.12)
Yeah, for me, it has to be Nielsen. And, and the reason being is because he's a DP. Like he's what he's one of the guys that we're, we're giving a ton of money to last year, he came in with Parker and it didn't really work out. We need him to, like, I think we can all say like, truthfully, like Parker kind of exceeded our expectations last year, at least in my opinion, like

Hen (01:12:38.235)
Good shout.

Hoov (01:12:42.968)
Yeah, great point.

Hoov (01:12:56.901)

Dobes (01:12:58.196)
Like he scored goals, but to me, Parker has MLS experience. And if you pair him with the right person, I think Parker can be a great center back. And I just, I'm not sold if that's Nielsen, to be honest. Like I'm really not sold on, we saw him hurt for the majority of the season. We kind of, I don't know if we built him up just because he was a DP, Swedish international, that he was gonna be like the second coming of Christ in our back four, you know? But truthfully, that's kind of how we thought about him. And then he came back and he didn't necessarily like.

live up to that hype in my opinion. Like he's a solid player. We never really figured out the back four, but I think if we're going to be successful, I do like Yaro, uh, of course, like a friend of the pod, but I think if we're going to be great, like we need Nielsen to be a dog, like we need him to be a day in day out, we need our best 11. We need Nielsen to be in there. Um, and my second one, I'm kind of piggybacking. I think, and did you say big Sam or who did you see a big Sam? Big Sam to me, it's like.

Hoov (01:13:52.399)
who I did. Yeah.

Dobes (01:13:55.876)
He had that sort of benefit last year where we sent him away. He came back, he sort of caught lightning in a bottle and was like, I'm going to score goals. I'm going to earn my spot. Now that you have the spot, you have to keep it because if, if Klaus doesn't, doesn't come off on fire, doesn't score 10 goals this year, like, dude, we're turning to you, like you're our next hope brother. And if you don't, if you don't find a way to step up and score goals, who is? Because, because I don't, I don't necessarily know, um, know who else is going to score goals. This is another concern.

Hen (01:14:15.355)
I'm gonna go.

Hen (01:14:20.368)

Dobes (01:14:25.544)
Nick, you are so right, dude. We have like, I think it was eight different players that were in. Oh my.

Hen (01:14:29.599)
Yeah, that's the starting 11 right there, fellas.

Hoov (01:14:32.516)

Dobes (01:14:35.845)

Hoov (01:14:41.617)
Or play in the position that he wants to play good lord

Dobes (01:14:42.282)
That's a show. Yeah.

Hen (01:14:43.247)
Well, I think hot seat is one way to describe it, but some of your other questions on here, Doug, is like, who needs to step up? Or like, if we're gonna see success, who's it gonna be? And like, it's funny, like, that's where I put Lou, like, if anyone is gonna have a successful season, and it's gonna be the impact, that's where I have Nilsson, and that's where I have Lou. And it's the consistency thing.

Like if we can nail down, if Parker can stay at the same level as last year, not asking him to be any better or regressing at all, if he can stay exactly like he was last year and then we add Nilsson to come in and make a huge impact, I think that that's what it will take. And then Leuven, like he also had a pretty big inconsistency like the second half of the season. So love the guy, but post injury, he fell off pretty hard. And I think he was one of the first people again.

Love the guy. He was one of the first people that I saw like towards the second half of the season, feel like he wasn't making the same impact. And like against the Kansas, like against Kansas City, he ghosted completely for two games. And like, so he's not on my hot seat because I think he is a quality player, especially with him getting his green card, that's gonna extend his contract for sure. But he is someone that if we're going to be successful, we have to play through him. So it is interesting. Some of those guys are just filling different questions for me.

Hoov (01:16:03.939)
The people that we've mentioned, the players that we've mentioned that I, you know, the DPs, the high powered guys that you need to perform, Klaus, Leuven, Nielsen. All three had severe injuries last year. One of them, Nielsen, was expected to come in halfway through the season after an extremely severe injury and immediately start a quality, he's out like a full year, almost like 14 months or something. So.

Dobes (01:16:26.99)
He was out like a year.

Hen (01:16:28.664)

Hoov (01:16:31.971)
to expect him to come in and have a partnership and read the game at the level that I think we can, that I think that he can. I think one, all three of those guys stay healthy. I think we see the benefit of that. Two, I think Nilsson getting a pre-season, getting a run of games, getting in the building and playing hot off the press. I think those are all.

Hen (01:16:47.268)

Dobes (01:16:47.296)

Hoov (01:16:59.927)
just immediately positive things that we didn't have last year. So I'm not necessarily saying that they're not on the hot seat, but I think all three of those factors contributed to the downgrade and the regression that we saw over the course of the year. So my hope is that he's had a preseason, he's played with these guys long enough now, he knows these cats, he knows the style of play, he knows what we're doing.

I'm hoping that European style center back comes in and fills in really well. On paper, that partnership makes the most sense. Nilsson, a little bit speedier, a little bit more defensively aware than Parker, but Parker's better on the ball, but Parker's going to throw bodies. Parker's going to get stuck in. Nilsson will be able to swing the ball out and find passes. On paper, that makes the most sense and it should be fantastic. So I'm crediting that.

Hen (01:17:34.371)
Yeah, perfect sense.

Dobes (01:17:39.564)
Better on the ball.

Hoov (01:17:54.755)
disappointment with the injury and not having time and needing him to perform immediately. So that's my take there and I've still got really high hopes for him. He's not a Swedish national for no reason and I'm just hoping that you bounce back from the injury for real. I think that's what took away from those three guys as a collective last year.

Dobes (01:18:20.056)
Nikki, in your opinion, and I know who Vin and Hen kind of touched on, Nikki, in your opinion, who needs to step up in order to be successful? Obviously, we've heard Nielsen, we've heard Lewin, who, in your opinion, needs to step up in order for us to achieve all the expectations we've said?

Hoov (01:19:02.051)
Hey, it's not that wild. Big homie Hooves doing it right now for St. Louis City on FIFA 24. He's got something like 40 goals in 30 games. So, you know, it's not that too wild.

Hen (01:19:07.3)
Let's go!

Dobes (01:19:09.168)

Hen (01:19:12.442)

Dobes (01:19:34.744)
I know I didn't directly ask who the same question I just asked you, Nick. So I'm kind of going to say what I think you might have say for me. Our wing backs have to be great in order for us to be successful. Oh, like we are two wing and I'm not sitting here trying to put pressure on the newbies, but like we saw last year, just how bad one V one defensively we were, how easy we were to get in behind. Um, so there is kind of a ton of pressure come on these guys to come in, but I do think if they can come in and be halfway solid.

We instantly become a better team than we were last year, without a doubt, instantly.

Hoov (01:20:04.955)
There just can't be a drop off. There's just no, there just can't be a drop off. Like they have to be better than what we've seen. And I'm not saying that there won't be, but dude, seriously, Hackens playing in the Europa League against legitimate teams. I don't, I would die or come from Midgeland. Also playing in Europa League, playing in a highly competitive European football, not obviously the top league, but I-

Dobes (01:20:07.187)

Hen (01:20:14.262)

Hen (01:20:26.061)

Hoov (01:20:33.063)
I knew the name Hacken and I knew the name Midgeland when we bought these guys. They're both young. They're both, you know, Tottenham more of a starter than Dyer was. But I would say that we match up pretty well against those teams now on paper. So to me, man, there just can't be. I'm with you that they do need to perform and it's going to be a pretty, you know, hyper critical position from our point of view, just because of what we've seen and how bad it was. So

Hen (01:20:37.619)

Hoov (01:21:02.232)
There's gonna be a microscope on those guys, no way around.

Dobes (01:21:05.144)
Sure. Yeah. I mean, like you said, can't get worse. Just for the sake of time, let's just do two questions in one and sort of go around with all of us. First question, who are you most excited to watch this year? And then second, who is going to be your St. Louis City player of the season? I kind of want to say outside of Berkey, to be honest. Like I want to say, yeah. Well, I mean, I think that's everybody. So like who are you most excited to see this year? And then who's going to be the St. Louis player of the season? Hen, let's go with you.

Hoov (01:21:08.076)
just can't.

Hen (01:21:33.999)
Um, Louvin for both. Uh, I want to see a healthy season. Um, he was, he was making MVP runs the first half of the season before he got injured and I want to see him reach, reach those heights. Um, he's a guy that excites me every time he plays a ball. So, um, he's my answer for both questions and, uh, yeah, I can see that happening.

Hoov (01:21:42.228)
Yeah, 100%.

Dobes (01:21:55.701)

Hoov (01:21:56.875)
I've got, Totlund is my most excited shocker. Let's be real here. Quality at left back, quality at right back. I don't care where he plays bro. You can play center back, you can play striker. There's gonna be more quality there. So I'm really excited to see him. And anytime you bring a European cat into an MLS team, there should be some excitement. We paid some money for them. I think there's an expectation level that you have to have for those players. So.

I'm excited to watch him. I'm excited to see some quality service into the box. I'm excited to see some tiki-taka on the wing. I have to go with Lewin, most valuable. There's just no way that his set piece delivery doesn't consistently deliver, that his link-up play doesn't consistently deliver, that his ability to strike the ball is probably one of the best on the team. So in terms of general quality and what we're building around,

He's the centerpiece. You don't build a team around a keeper. Obviously your keeper can be a massive part and the captain and the leader in the locker room and is a huge deal, but we're not scoring goals with Roman Burkey. So I definitely think it's Lewin in terms of who's gonna be the most valuable.

Hen (01:22:55.825)

Dobes (01:23:13.047)

Hoov (01:23:18.863)
There's just no way it's not. Yeah.

Dobes (01:23:45.948)
I have two different answers that I'm surprised nobody said. Um, most excited to see, uh, you guys know, I absolutely love the guy. He's our most dynamic. He's our most dynamic winner. Our young Brazilian 24 year old Cilio. I, I need him. I need him to have more of a role. Carnell. I know you won't listen to this, but if you do, if you made it this far in the podcast, play the fucking kid. Play the fucking kid, play the fucking kid. Every time something happened, even in the sporting Kansas city games end of the year, it was through Cilio. And I think our player this year is going to be Klaus.

Hoov (01:23:52.451)

Hoov (01:24:05.307)

Hen (01:24:15.76)

Dobes (01:24:15.988)
I truthfully do. A healthy Klaus, just think of how for the first half of the season started for him, how many goals he was scoring. If he doesn't get hurt, I don't necessarily see that goal scoring drop off. Now, if he's played with Big Sam, he's not going to be the player of the season. But if he plays alone, I think he has the ability to. But yeah, give me Cilio.

Hoov (01:24:33.059)
Yeah. I think Andrew Weeby, one of the MLS commentators on Apple TV, he had him ranked number five in his top five picks for the Golden Boot this year. So I appreciate that shout. And I think that's where I expect him to finish. I don't necessarily need him to score every goal that we score as a team, but I expect that out of him.

Hen (01:24:47.904)
Oh, cool.

Dobes (01:24:48.056)
I love it. I love it. I love it.

Hen (01:24:52.452)
Sure. Yeah.

Hoov (01:24:59.615)
it's because of what we've seen. It's because of what he was able to do on the pitch that we were all like, Oh, yeah, this guy's different. Like first goal, first goal he scored in Austin with that, you know, one on one breakaway against the keeper outside the foot touch and finish. I was talking to my dad, who's you know, worked himself into a pretty solid footy fan. And my dad was even like, I don't think guys are doing that in this league. I was like, bro, I don't think so either, dude.

Hen (01:25:13.688)

Dobes (01:25:26.237)

Hoov (01:25:27.347)
I am not seeing that finish week in and week out here. I don't think guys are doing that.

Hen (01:25:29.484)
I don't know, I've never watched MLS, but I don't think they're doing that.

Dobes (01:25:34.916)
Uh, fellas now we're finally on to sort of, I guess it's the moment that we've been waiting months for. We could finally actually talk 11th. We can actually talk about a tangible game or recording this on Friday. This is either going to come out this weekend. So we're talking about this for four days away from the game city opens up the season on Tuesday, 7 PM. Actually all four of us are going to be there, um, and the cocky cat and the cocky calf champions league against the Houston dynamo. Um, so we're going to try to predict the 11. I feel like these never necessarily go great with Cardinal. Um.

Hoov (01:25:43.639)

Hen (01:25:54.575)

Dobes (01:26:04.556)
But we're going to try to pick the 11 and then I guess give me your thoughts in the game and the result. Whoever wants to die first, I have not decided on mine in my head, so I'm not going to go first. So whoever wants to go first, go ahead and kick it off.

Hoov (01:26:15.867)
I've got mine on paper if we're into it. So the thing that I'm confused about and that I'm not 100% confident on is where Tottenham's gonna play. I think he was playing left back in preseason. So my starting 11 and we also had mentioned amongst ourselves that I don't think that we're gonna see the dogs this first match.

Hen (01:26:16.335)
Uh... go for it, Hoof.

Hoov (01:26:44.747)
I think we're gonna see a lot of rotation through the year just because we probably should we're in three competitions Cardinal has to be pretty careful about minutes and legs. So But there's also guys that aren't gonna not play I've got Totland on the left obviously Berkey and net Totland on the left back. I've got Yarrow and Parker partnering for this one If you remember nelson went to Europe to secure his green card this last couple of weeks

So he lost a few of those preseason matches. He lost a few training sessions. I don't think that they're gonna be comfortable playing him immediately. Whereas Josh is just ride or die and will put in a shift no matter when or where he plays. So I've got Parker and Yarrow at the center back. I've got Akil Watts right back right now just because of his versatility of the way that we used him last year, of the way that we used him preseason. He can play that six, he can play outright.

Dobes (01:27:32.627)

Hoov (01:27:40.618)
So I've got him in the back line.

Hen (01:27:46.175)
Yeah, I the only thing that I have is I have dire on the left and I have Totland on the right and again, don't know, but I also had a keel at first and then I crossed him out and put Totland. So. Yeah.

Hoov (01:27:49.783)
Okay. Yeah.

Hoov (01:27:57.539)
Yeah, I think Totlin plays, no question. I don't know much about Dyer still, to be fair. I don't think Nilsson plays, so that's my back line. And then we're, you know, look lads, we're gonna play a diamond, dammit. We're gonna play a diamond. The 41212, the classic, it was great in FIFA 2015. It has not worked as well in real life as it has in the video game. I've got Blom in the six.

Mostly out of experience, mostly out of the fact that we're comfortable and know what he's gonna do, how he's gonna play. I've got more of like a 4-1-3-2, if you so to say. It's gonna be narrow. I've got O-struck, low-end, and A-Z as the middle three. I've got O-struck playing out a little bit right. Low-end in like a deeper 10, more of an eight.

If you're gonna play two strikers, they're obviously both not gonna be sitting at the top of the line the whole time. So it kind of eliminates the need for 10, which if we go back to Lowen's comments at the end of the year, he doesn't love the 10. Guy wants to play both sides of the ball. He wants to get up and down. He wants to find the pass. He doesn't necessarily want to be up in the attack all the time. So they're stuck on Ostrok, still just not sold and or know his specialty or his ability to be honest. I just never saw it. I didn't.

get it for sure, but there's a player there. And then AZ is the utility guy who will probably slide in for low and then play a little bit more of a 10. He'll stay out wide if he needs to. Those three players to me can rotate, can kind of combine and switch positions as freely as they see fit. And then, you know, two strikers that I think we're gonna run with the entire season, Big Sam and Joe Claus.

Dobes (01:29:46.964)

Hen (01:29:48.595)
Yeah, I have. Yeah, yeah. I think I think we're gonna do a four triple two instead of a four one, two, one, two. I think we're gonna do a double pivot of Blom and Durkin. I think that those two are gonna start as the bass and then we're gonna play like a two still narrow but a little bit wider. I think Oshrak's gonna be on one side. I think Indy's gonna be on the other side.

Hoov (01:29:49.551)
We're not booing Sam, we're booing the combination of both of them playing at the same time. It's just a clarification.

Dobes (01:29:52.504)

Hen (01:30:12.591)
Louvin was in the same boat as Nilsson was of like going over to Europe trying to get his green card. He might very well start because he's the guy, but I could see him starting against Houston in Houston the following week. But so I think it's Ostrack and Indy and then Sam and Klaus.

Hoov (01:30:14.875)
We're going to have to wait for the next one.

Hoov (01:30:19.032)
He's that guy, yeah.

Dobes (01:30:32.604)
So you guys, I'm just going to say this because I want to say it because I have to say it, if it was me, I'm going dire, Yarrow, Parker, Tottenham. I'm going Blom is a six. I'm going Lewin is an eight. I'm going AZ is a 10. I'm going, um, Celia on one side and I'm going on the other and I'm playing Klaus up top and that lineup is going to win, but will that work? No, that's not what we're going to do at all.

Hoov (01:30:52.679)

Hoov (01:31:04.352)
Yeah, yeah.

Dobes (01:31:05.611)
Yeah, yeah, no, I know. I just had to say that I think that this lineup is a thousand times better.

Dobes (01:31:22.572)
Dire and Tatlin.

Hen (01:31:33.883)
Durkin? Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't hate that. Like if we're flying, like if we're flying, that's great. But if we're just like.

Hoov (01:31:35.939)
Yeah, and dude... No!

Dobes (01:31:40.983)

Dobes (01:31:45.718)
The back five is anti high press. Like it's, you know what I.

Hen (01:31:48.801)

Hoov (01:31:48.923)
that but it would it would fit more it would it would make more sense in the way that you know, we can look at it as a back five but it would ultimately be a three four two you know like we're those that Totland and dire combination those guys being up is great and it sounds like they've got the legs to get back when they need to truly out now right and left midfielder type roles.

Hen (01:32:02.308)

Hoov (01:32:17.443)
That doesn't scare me as much as, you know, the back five I think we ran once last year, which was uh Watts, Parker, Yarrow, Hebert, and Nelson. That made me want to stab my eyes out. That completely different situation. Yeah.

Hen (01:32:31.591)


Hoov (01:32:46.199)
And I think our, yeah. And I think our three center backs are some of the more consistent or competent players that we have. Yeah. Yep, I agree completely.

Hen (01:32:52.699)

Dobes (01:32:57.94)
I do think.

Hen (01:33:01.967)
Maybe, bro.

Hoov (01:33:02.449)
It's a back three with four midfielders.

Hen (01:33:04.907)

Dobes (01:33:05.284)
Until Tim Parker gets isolated one single time because the wingback's too high and he gets diced. I do think that Watts is gonna play as the right back in like my true back four. I do think Dyer is gonna play as the left back. Just because I do think this is one of those games, the crowd's gonna be hyped. I think Carnell is gonna kind of trust what he knows and sort of ease these newbies into the team. So I can see a combination of Blom and Ostrach. I think if AZ is not in the team, then Carnell drank.

Hoov (01:33:14.768)
Me too.

Hen (01:33:25.348)

Hoov (01:33:25.943)
Yeah, for sure.

Dobes (01:33:34.248)
way too much before the game because AZ, in my opinion, he has to be in the game. Indy's gonna play, and then I do think it's gonna be Big Sam and Klaus. As much as I genuinely hate it, I think he's gonna go with what he knows and let some of the guys sort of be the impact. I guarantee we're gonna be wrong. Probably all of us are gonna be wrong, which is fine. But I guess that leads us to, what are expectations? Are we winning, are we tying, are we losing? What do we think for the first game?

Hoov (01:33:35.771)

Hoov (01:34:03.143)
Before we hit that, the one guy that we haven't mentioned that I feel just needs mentioning at this point is AZ. I think if we find my, if my man has an unreal kind of, you know, show stopping season, like a breakout season or so, we might be dogs. Like, and it can be one player. AZ getting a US men's team call up, getting a cap was really cool.

Hen (01:34:10.887)
Thank you.

Hoov (01:34:29.763)
But I don't think it was for naught. Like I don't think it was like a pity cap. My man had a really good season. He's young, he's hungry, and he's willing to play wherever and do whatever. So I'm excited to see him. I don't think he's gonna be the most exciting player we have this year. And I don't think he's my most exciting player that I wanna watch. But if we get an AZ Remantada, boys, we might be hot. I don't know.

Hen (01:34:30.02)

Dobes (01:34:55.204)
I don't think he makes it through the summer. I really don't. I think, yeah, somebody in Europe is going to come for him. I think, yeah, no, yeah, no, no

Hoov (01:34:57.047)

Hen (01:34:59.618)
You think he gets picked up?

Hoov (01:35:02.32)
Oh, okay. I was like dropping him. That's insane.

Hen (01:35:06.339)
Yeah, damn!

Hoov (01:35:12.846)

Hoov (01:35:18.883)
Yup. I wanna see him do it first though. You know, give me the season we need.

Dobes (01:35:25.896)
Who wants to start with game prediction?

Hen (01:35:27.759)
I'm gonna go with a two-nothing win. I don't think it's gonna be pretty. I think we're gonna score one goal right before halftime, and then I think Houston's gonna be pushing for it in the second half, and we get kind of like a counterattack goal, and it's a two-nil victory, but it's gonna feel like a close game the entire game.

Dobes (01:35:30.782)

Hoov (01:35:59.951)
Um, thinking about my affinity for overs, I'm also going to go to one. I think we get a, we can see a Tim Parker, a low in set piece and then, you know, a, uh, a direct break from low into big Sam on the run. Um, but I'm, I'm with Nick in the sense that it's going to take a while to see that back line really solidify itself. Um, and, you know, I.

Hen (01:36:03.956)

Hoov (01:36:27.727)
Clean sheets are great. You want clean sheets as a back line. That's literally what you base your career on We may not see a clean sheet for a little bit, but as long as we score goals, which is what we saw last year You know it it's a It's like the team I support doesn't matter how many goal how many goals the other team lets in as long as you score more than them which I don't necessarily feel is the way that we play or the style that we bring this year, but

Hen (01:36:47.376)
Yeah, exactly.

Hoov (01:36:56.067)
God, I want to see a cloud skull, man. I need that. I need that like air to breathe.

Hen (01:36:58.904)
be electric.

Dobes (01:37:03.252)
Yeah, I'm going to go. We're going to win one because I think the first game of the season at home. Like I think that's just the key, but I do think it's going to be like three, two. Truthfully, I think it's going to be like three, two this end of the season. This end of the season, most of these back fours aren't solidified. Most of them haven't even been the same throughout preseason. I think both teams are going to conceive goals. Um, so I'm going to go three, two. I think we're going to win that home field advantage that we've had has meant so much to last year.

I think it's going to carry over first game of season. The players are going to be able to feed off the crowd. Everybody's going to be buzzing first 15 minutes of the game. They're not even going to be running on, um, feet, like are running on their own gas, they're going to be running on straight adrenaline off the stadium. Um, so I do, I do think it's three, two. Um, so you made it this far. I think we're at a little bit over an hour and a half. Um, thanks for making this far. I don't know if I, I don't know if I'd make it this far, but, uh, keep a look at, keep a lookout for more city content. Um, this is sort of our first, like, you know,

Hoov (01:37:52.1)

Hen (01:37:53.02)

Dobes (01:38:00.736)
first sort of run at, at first full season with expectations coming into it. I think all of us, myself included, are absolutely jacked up for the season just for Ced to be back playing. Also jacked up for all the boys to finally be on the same side again. And the banter won't be as high when we talk city, but at least there's some common ground that we can sort of latch onto for a little bit, fellas. So in the meantime, follow us on our socials, follow us on TikTok, follow us on Instagram, follow us on Twitter.

Make sure to comment on Henry's videos of trying to play a little game of two touch with St. Louis City. I think we're on day.

Hoov (01:38:30.363)
Hey, why not? Just a little too touch.

Hen (01:38:31.079)
That's all we're trying to do, just playing Two-Touch Bro.

Dobes (01:38:34.26)
I think we're on true, true. I think we're on day. I think we're on day four. Um, but yeah, thanks for making it this far and cheers.

Hen (01:38:39.652)
Yeah, yeah.

Cheers fellas.

Hoov (01:38:43.127)
Now that's.