Home SoccerSt. Louis City St. Louis CITY SC Opens the 2024 Season with a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo at CITYPARK

St. Louis CITY SC Opens the 2024 Season with a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo at CITYPARK

by St. Louis City SC

St. Louis CITY SC defeats Houston Dynamo FC 2-1 in the team’s opening match of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Tim Parker opened the scoring in the 61st minute, heading in a cross from Indiana Vassilev off a free kick. Houston answered with a goal in the 72nd minute, but Hosei Kijima came off the bench to deliver a memorable game-winner. Making his debut with the team after being selected 17th overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, Kijima subbed on with second half stoppage time approaching and powered a shot into the back of the net just minutes later to secure the victory.

Kijima Shines in Debut

Selected 17th overall by CITY SC in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, midfielder Hosei Kijima made a debut for the ages in CITY SC’s 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo. With his signing officially announced earlier in the day, Kijima suited up for CITY SC and subbed into the match in the 86th minute, delivering a perfectly placed strike past a diving goalkeeper just five minutes after subbing on to lift the team to a 2-1 victory.

Parker Strikes First

For the second consecutive year, CITY SC defender Tim Parker opened the team’s scoring account, heading in a cross off a free kick from midfielder Indiana Vassilev to put the team ahead. During the 2023 MLS season, Parker scored the first goal in CITY SC’s historic come-from-behind win in the team’s inaugural match against Austin FC last season. The 2023 MLS All-Star now has six goals across all competitions in two seasons with CITY SC.

Postgame Notes

  • With his goal tonight, Tim Parker has now scored six goals across all competitions with CITY SC
  • Tim Parker has scored the first MLS, MLS Playoffs and Concacaf Champions Cup goals in CITY SC history
  • Chris Durkin, Hosei Kijima and Tomas Totland made their debuts for CITY SC
  • Kijima is now the second MLS SuperDraft pick to make his debut for CITY SC, following John Klein who made his debut last season
  • Kijima became the 18th different player to score a goal in all competitions for CITY SC
  • Kijima is the first MLS SuperDraft pick to score a goal for CITY SC
  • CITY SC opens the season with a win for the second-straight year, after defeating Austin FC in the club’s MLS debut last season

Goal-Scoring Plays

STL – Tim Parker (Indiana Vassilev), 61st minute: Tim Parker header to the bottom left corner.

HOU – Sebastian Kowalczyk (Aliyu Ibrahim), 72nd minute: Sebastian Kowalczyk right-footed shot to the bottom right corner.

STL – Hosei Kijima, 90th+1 minute: Hosei Kijima right-footed shot to the bottom right corner

February 20, 2024 – CITYPARK (St. Louis, Missouri)

Goals by Half          1     2     F

St. Louis CITY SC     0     2     2

Houston Dynamo FC   0     1     1

Scoring Summary

STL: Tim Parker (Indiana Vassilev), 61

HOU: Sebastian Kowalczyk (Aliyu Ibrahim), 72

STL: Hosei Kijima, 90+1

Misconduct Summary

HOU: Steve Clark (caution), 21

HOU: Griffin Dorsey (caution), 88


STL: GK Roman Bürki ©; D Tomas Totland, D Josh Yaro, D Tim Parker, D Anthony Markanich; M Tomáš Ostrák (Célio Pompeu 74’), M Chris Durkin (Eduard Löwen 74’), M Indiana Vassilev (Njabulo Blom 62’), M Aziel Jackson (Hosei Kijima 86’); F Sam Adeniran, F João Klauss

Substitutes Not Used: D Nikolas Dyhr, D Kyle Hiebert, D Joakim Nilsson, D Jake Nerwinski, M Nökkvi Thórisson, M Akil Watts, GK Ben Lundt, GK Christian Olivares


HOU: GK Steve Clark ©; D Tate Schmitt, D Erik Sviatchenko, D Micael; M Sebastian Kowalczyk (Daniel Steres 84’), M Artur, M Adalberto Carrasquilla (Jan Gregus 84’), M Brooklyn Raines; F Sebas Ferreira (Brad Smith 25’), F Aliyu Ibrahim (Gabe Segal 73’), F Griffin Dorsey

Substitutes Not Used: GK Xavier Valdez, F Stephen Annor, D Kieran Sargeant, D Femi Awodesu, M Diego Gonzalez


Referee: Adonai Escobedo

Assistant Referees: Christian Espinosa, Michel Espinoza

Fourth Official: Daniel Quintero

VAR: Guillermo Pacheco

AVAR: Oscar Macias


Weather: Clear, 50 degrees


Video: Bradley Carnell

Audio: Recordings 

Head Coach Bradley Carnell

Opening statement…

Yeah, we said before the game we need this to be a celebration of what we’ve been working on the last five weeks and what we stand for as a group and what we expect of ourselves. And I think you could see a committed, hungry, energetic group out there in the first half and to be dealt a little bit of vulnerability to go down a goal — or to concede that goal and then you come back again, it just shows a bit of grit and determination and exactly what this group stands for, never say die attitude. I thought there was no need to concede how we did. I thought we mitigated the game for most parts and nullified their danger moments, we hit the post twice. Again, incredibly proud of this group, and then it just shows that we believe in our roster. We believe in our recruitments. I think the guys that debuted today, you can see exactly what they’re all about and the energy they give us and how they complement our game model. So, I’m really thrilled for the group, really excited that they got the first W, but it’s only ‘halftime.’ So yeah, we’re ready to go hopefully next week.

On what he’s seen from Hosei Kijima thus far that compelled him to put him in…

Yeah, I was just looking for a structure at the end there. You could see Houston becoming a little bit more threatening, and I just thought playing Jabs [Blom], [Eduard] Löwen and Hosei [Kijima] — that just complimented what we try to do, and especially with Célio [Pompeu], [João] Klauss and Sam [Adeniran] up top, who are always going to be a threat. And Edu with set pieces. I know Hosei showed a lot of good attributes, and so has everyone else. There were a couple of gutted guys that didn’t get on the field tonight. And they’ve shown well, too, in preseason. It was just a spur of the moment decision, just thinking — as was Indy’s call to keep him on for the set piece. So it’s just moments in the game that you just have to feel and think what’s best in that situation, and we thought that was the best way to go. But Hosei is eager to learn, he’s eager to work, is eager to ask questions and credit to him. He’s hungry.

On whether the team got out of the first game what he expected them to…

I mean, I was surprised that we went how we did for the for the whole 90 minutes. I thought maybe at some point we might fatigue a little bit, but I mean, if you look at Sam and Klauss up top, the way they’re running that they put out there and the tenacity to come back in the game and be ready for transitions again. And then running in behind – so I think from the defense all the way through to the strikers, we did a hell of a job. Just shows that we’ve been working really hard in preseason, and we came through unscathed without any issues in preseason. There were no casualties. And everyone was available. So, competitiveness was always there in the group. And I think that showed tonight. So, really thrilled with the overall performance

On if he had any ‘deju vu’ watching Tim Parker score the first goal of the year again…

Yeah, I mean, he’s primed for big moments, right. And big moments – the start of our season. He scored in the playoffs, and now his scores in our debut in the CONCACAF tournament. He’s a seasoned pro, he’s experienced, he’s a gamer. He loves to play with power and intensity and anytime he can get up the field, he puts his body about. He’s hard to play against in the back line. But going up we know he’s a real dangerous threat.

On injury updates on Indiana Vassilev…

I don’t want to speak out of turn. Something’s going on with his wrist. I don’t want to put words in my mouth that, — I’ll just want to keep it at that. But he has injured his wrist.

On what Vassilev’s decision to stay on the field meant for the team…

Yeah, listen. I trust my group, and Indy made a sign and a signal to the bench and was like, ‘Not yet.’ So, we stopped, we avoided the substitution and yeah, we have set plays in mind. And then Alex has been working hard on set plays – our goalkeeper coach and set play specialist. So yeah, I just have a hungry, confident group right now, right. So, everyone wants to spend everyone on the field. They want to give everything for the team. And we want to win games. I told the boys after the game, ‘Let’s celebrate these moments more,’ because not everything’s a given in life. And there’s always things that are happening and life passes us by really quickly. I want us to enjoy these moments and Indy decided to enjoy 20 more seconds on the pitch.

On how he thought the backline played…

Yeah, I mean, I know we conceded the offsides goal, but we played it how we do. And you can see it was quite intentional with the way they play, with, Coco Carrasquilla running late through in the second run, Aliyu running the line as well. Herrera also, strong to get in behind and that’s one of the things you have to deal with, right. But overall, very happy with the group. I mean, Roman [Bürki] had one or two moments, but nothing that we’ve been seen in terms of history, right. So, what we left behind last year, we left behind. We feel very confident now that we don’t want to give too many chances up and the less we see Roman and the less we use Roman, the better I sit on the sidelines. So, the boys have been working hard to try and get that right. And again, we’ve had a bit of a staggered or stuttered preseason in terms of Joakim Nilsson not being available all the time and traveling back home to get to his paperwork sorted out, same with the Edu Löwen — weren’t able to go into full minutes and weren’t able to put themselves in contention for starting. But it just shows that we have a lot of determination, a lot of hungry guys to get minutes, and I think that helps our overall product.

On whether he could sense that the first goal was coming…

Yeah, it’s momentum, right. So, I said it a couple of times and I said it to the boys in the locker room, if you bring energy the way we played, especially in front of these fans and our crowd, energy turns into momentum. And where can you utilize momentum is up in their end, playing in their half, creating chances, win those kind of pressing moments, we’re closer to goal, we can transition, we can be dangerous. And the more dangerous you are, the better chances of you getting one on target or scoring goals or, ultimately winning games.

On his thoughts on the game following Houston’s equalizer…

Yeah, listen, I mean, we actually have a controlled situation where we’re two-versus-one on the sideline and we go to the ground trying to win the ball. We actually win the ball twice, and then unlucky things happen, right? So unfortunately, we couldn’t recover from that rebound moment, and we gave up a goal. In terms of the momentum shifting, that’s why we decided to make the changes we did. We decided to bring Hosei in just to solidify the midfield, which ultimately was a catalyst to get us back and gain that momentum again. So, I don’t look at that too dramatically. The boys are trying the right things. We trust them in those moments. We’ll look at film, but overall very happy with the performance.

On what he saw from Célio Pompeu…

Yeah, listen, from what I got of your question, I think the minute we make the change with Célio, we know he’s a threat in behind. He combines very well with Klauss and those guys have a good relationship with each other. Célio does a good job coming back in the game, he’s got good energy, he can win one-on-one battles going forwards and defensively is pretty solid. We just think that he’s the next wave of energy from the bench. And that’s what the game demanded. That’s what the game needed. And ultimately, that was the decision to get him on the field. So, we can utilize Célio at different positions. We can play him in the last line as a striker. We can put him in the 10. We can put him out wide to go in, one-v-one duels in isolation. So, yeah, Célio did a good job.

Tim Parker

On Hosei Kijima’s first goal…

Yeah, really happy for him. You know, it’s one thing to make your debut. And then to come on and score and kind of be the game winner — we’re all really happy for him. He worked hard this preseason. It’s not easy to come in here and learn the system that we play, and he’s taken it head on. So, I’m happy for him.

On scoring another goal from a set piece…

Yeah, I mean it’s a lot of fine details. You know, we take, it’s a lot of pride that we have in those set pieces. It’s not just us on the end of the service, but it’s the service that we rely on as well. So, the service from the guys that take those — they put it in dangerous spots and luckily, we’re able to get on the end of them.

On getting the win heading into the second leg…

Yeah, yeah. Getting that win is kind of the most important thing. So, we give up that goal and stuff, but getting the win is big.

On starting the season off with a win at home…

I think it’s great to build momentum. You know, it’s always a good feeling to get a win at home in front of our fans and start the season off this way like with the late winter like that. It’s good momentum.

Tomas Totland

On his first game…

It was super cool. You know, it was a great game. Houston is a good team, so it’s a good fight. But we got the win and then take that win with us to Houston.

On his shot and how he felt…

I felt good. You know, it’s the first game, could have had a goal. It was a great save, and I can’t wait for the next game.

On how the preseason prepared the team…

I felt that the five weeks helped us a lot. You know, I’ve gotten to know the guys a lot, and I mean, I think it was a solid game from all of us today. And we bring that into the next game.

On Hosei’s goal…

Of course, it’s super important and that as a young player, you know, coming and signing his pro contract, I think it was yesterday, and scoring today. I mean, it’s just a great experience for him, and I can’t wait to see him play more.

Indiana Vassilev

On the health of Vassilev’s wrist…

I knew I was coming out because I was really struggling. My wrist was hurting, so I was struggling but we do out Swingers, usually. So I just wanted to stay in and take the free kick. So I didn’t ask too nicely, but I was like, I’m not coming out. Yeah. Good decision from the staff. I am in a little bit of pain but the staff said it may be a fracture.

On Hosei Kijima’s goal…

It’s awesome. I’m so happy for him. I have played with him at IMG for a couple of years, so me and him have played before together and yeah, the goal comes from a quick throw from Anthony. Célio is brave, taking a guy on and putting a cross in then maybe a clearance, not a clearance, then Kijima presses the ball and has a great finish. Super happy for him. He deserves it. He had a very good preseason and his smile kind of told the whole story there.

Sam Adeniran

On the offense in the second half…

We came out with a great mindset. I thought we did a great job executing in every department.

On his scoring chances…

It’s tough as a striker to not see those go in, but at the same time, I’m just glad that we got the win.

On Hosei Kijima…

He’s very relaxed, very calm on the ball, but at the same time, he plays with this mindset of intensity and strength. Just amazing. He’s going to be one of the best I’ve seen. He’s got that calmness on the ball. I feel like he can get out of any situation.

Hosei Kijima

On being a rookie…

I worked 15 years for that. Just about to walk onto the field. But again, I keep saying it is gratitude just for the folks that gave me a chance. It was just bizarre.

On his debut experience…

It was a crazy atmosphere. My teammates told me that it’s going to be an even better atmosphere on Saturdays. Great stadium, the fans are crazy. I can’t ask for a better fanbase. Thankful to the fans as well. They always bring the energy.

On expecting to play today…

Honestly, I was even surprised that I was on the roster. Obviously, you know as a new player, and a new professional team, you want to even get the chance to wear that jersey.

On the goal he scored…

I saw the guy take a bad touch, and I just crashed into the guy and took a test of luck.

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