EDITORIAL – We are entering the third month of no soccer due to the COVID-19 pandemic in America. In an effort to produce some evergreen content, Last Word on Soccer will be taking a look at several club teams and their Mount Rushmore, Decade Best XI, etc. Today I’ll be taking a look at the all-time Saint Louis FC Mount Rushmore.
Saint Louis FC Mount Rushmore
STLFC began play in the USL Championship (then, just the USL) in 2015. Saint Louis is due to join Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2022. There’s some uncertainty regarding whether STLFC will disolve at that point, become the USL affiliate of the MLS team, or be incorporated in some way to the MLS team.
The Fightin’ Chupacabras have spent time in both the USL Eastern and Western Conference. They’ve made the playoffs just once (2018), where they were one-and-done due to a curious red card to Tony Walls undid them. The club has had a good history of giving MLS teams a run for their money in the U.S. Open Cup as well.
This is a no-brainer. He’s originally from there area, played St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy, and is an STLFC original, With the exception of the 2017 season in which he was with Oklahoma City Energy FC, he’s spent his entire career with Saint Louis FC. He’s been the captain in the past and presumably was going to wear the armband in 2020. He holds the all-time appearances record for the club and is a fan favorite.
Fink bleeds Saint Louis blue and green like Jamie Carragher bleeds Liverpool red. One can only hope Fink can help the club win something in the short time they have left in USL and play well enough to take Saint Louis into MLS.
I’m not one for putting owners on the pantheon of soccer clubs, but given the club’s short and not illustrious history and everything Jim Kavanaugh has done for soccer in the city, it’s deserving. He played college soccer at Saint Louis University and had a career in the MISL.
As President of Scott Gallagher, he’s seen the academy continue its legacy of success and he brought STLFC into existence. He and the board, unlike most USL expansion cities that have been MLS possibilities, has focused on developing a stable USL club. Through his businesses and soccer efforts, he’s a Saint Louis man through and through.
MLS doesn’t award an expansion team to the city and Carolyn Kindle Betz never joins the ownership group if Kavanaugh doesn’t do a good job on the business and community side with STLFC. Whenever Saint Louis’s MLS team wins MLS Cup, some props should go to Kavanaugh for laying the ground work in the years/decades prior.
Truth be told, it’s hard to find a many STLFC players with consecutive good seasons. But the best individual season in club history probably goes to Irvin Herrera in 2016. He was the only bright spot of a dismal season that saw the club miss the playoffs again. Herrera scored 14 of the club’s 42 goals, a single season record. He was a fun player and looked like a building block going into 2017. Then Preki took over as manager and loaned him to the New York Cosmos.
Hopefully, in a few years, there will be someone more deserving to take this spot on the Saint Louis FC Mount Rushmore, both for their stats and tenure at the club. Regardless, it’s still funny and legendary that the news of Herrera signing was broken on Twitter by a Salvadorian drug lord who supported Santa Tecla, allegedly.
Tony Walls or Kyle Greig?
Honestly, it’s hard to find a fourth member of this Mount Rushmore. Most players haven’t stayed more than two years. Kyle Greig’s got 20 goals. He almost beat Herrera’ season record in 2018. Tony Walls might have cult following status for the absurd and harsh red card he got in the club’s only ever playoff game. There’s some irony there.
The Saint Louligans are one of the best supporters groups in the USL, especially when you consider the losing they’ve had to endure. Maybe they as a collective deserve to be on here. Replace one of the Rushmore heads with the giant Louligan flag and the Corner.
Carolyn Kindle Betz is dropping millions and millions of dollars to bring first division football to the city. Does she get on here as long as the transition to MLS is smooth and the club’s culture and likeness is carried over in some form?
As of right now, this fourth spot might have to be left open with the understanding that the bar isn’t very high to bump Herrera off either. If somebody scores 20 goals this year or next and Steve Trittschuh pushes the right buttons to win the King’s Cup, make a U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, or mount a proper USL Cup run, this Mount Rushmore’s going to look pretty different.