Eduard Löwen celebrates a goal earlier this season at CITY PARK. He will be sidelined for an expected four weeks while dealing with an injury.

ST. LOUIS - It’s a rare MLS midweek matchup for St. Louis City SC on Wednesday night. After a 3-1 defeat on Saturday to Nashville SC, City looks to turn the page as they host Real Salt Lake at CITY PARK.

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Saturday may have been the Hany Mukhtar show, as he scored Nashville’s three goals for his fourth MLS hat trick, but St. Louis City head coach Bradley Carnell was proud of what his team did before Kyle Hiebert was sent off for his second yellow card offense.

“I look at the positives and I turn the page pretty quickly,” said Carnell Monday afternoon. “We see so many great things for a lot of the game. We have some room to grow, you know?”

Carnell pointed to Nashville’s ability to shut down opponents at home, and pointed to City’s xG (expected goals, an advanced statistic that calculates the number of goals that can be expected to be scored based on where and how a shot was taken) compared to Nashville’s other opponents at Geodis Park this season.

“I think the statistics speak for themselves,” Carnell said. “Nashville’s shut out many opponents at home, historically probably a 0.9 (xG), and we get a 1.8 (xG) with a man down with 20 minutes to go.”

“Just thinking about our creativity, movement and flexibility, I thought our front four guys did really well.”

What has become bigger news than Saturday’s loss, however, is the injury news that came out of Monday’s press conference that sent a bit of a shockwave through the City fanbase.

Joao Klauss has had four more weeks added to his timetable for return, and perhaps what was more shocking was the news of fellow Designated Player Eduard Löwen, who is now expected to miss four to six weeks. Both have been dealing with quad injuries.

“I’m not a medical specialist, I couldn’t give you some medical explanation,” said Bradley Carnell Monday. “We have to respect that timeline and the professionals who handle that department.”

The news comes as a huge blow to a St. Louis team that, while creating and scoring a goal in Nashville on Saturday, did seem to be missing their midfield talisman. Löwen likely won’t return until after the Concacaf Gold Cup break, in late August.

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Eduard Löwen’s absence leaves a hole in the City midfield that’s really hard to replicate with the pieces on offer for Bradley Carnell. What Löwen offers is so different than other City midfielders bring to the table, one of the reasons he’s become a centerpiece of this expansion St. Louis side.

Löwen’s eight goal contributions (goals & assists) are tied with a team lead with striker Niko Gioacchini. Importantly, Löwen’s contributions often come from set plays, some of his goals are penalties, one was a world-class free kick. Without his cultured right foot, City are without a huge weapon.

Klauss, who’s seemingly been “four weeks away” for the past two months, is still four weeks away, and probably on a similar return timeline to his midfield teammate. The injury situation at City seems very fluid, and what was once a “10-14 days” timeline now stretches the better part of three months, City fans and teammates alike can only hope that fluidity works the other way at some point.

In more bizarre injury news, and some that doesn’t impact the usual starting fold, City defender Jon Bell hurt his foot in the cryogenic chamber players use for recovery/regeneration between matches.

“He says it’s really uncomfortable when he puts a cleat on,” said Bradley Carnell. “So it’s just discomfort at the moment, we just have to evaluate and see where he’s at.”

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s opponent, Real Salt Lake are on a run of three unbeaten, and have only lost three matches in fourteen MLS games since St. Louis City thumped them 4-0 in March.

“I think they’ve used that game that we played against them,” Bradley Carnell noted of City’s midweek visitors. “They do a good job defensively, they’re good in transition. We know the threats that they possess.”

Real Salt Lake are led by their joint-top goalscorers, Jefferson Savarino and Pablo Ruiz. The latter of which contributed a goal in their 2-1 win over DC United last weekend.

Savarino was called into international duty for Venezuela over the weekend, playing over 140 minutes over two matches on Thursday and Sunday. Barring a feat of athletic recovery unheard of to mankind, he won’t be featuring Wednesday at CITY PARK.

While not putting up the same number of goals as a team like City, Real Salt Lake has had a number of goal providers, and has proven they’re not reliant on one goalscorer to provide an end to their offensive attacks.

St. Louis City looks to stay atop the West with another win Wednesday night. Kickoff is at 7:30 P.M. at CITY PARK, streaming on Apple TV. Local radio broadcasts are available on KYKY Y98.1 FM in English and KXOK 102.9 FM in Spanish.



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