Photo courtesy Mark Guthrel\Saint Louis FC
Things looked good in the early stages of the season for Saint Louis FC, but an inability to string together consistent results over the remainder of the season meant that the club would again have to wait for its first trip to the USL Cup Playoffs. Saint Louis was unable to record back-to-back wins for the remainder of the season after a three-game winning streak put the club at 3-0-1 to start the year, and the year ended with the departure of Head Coach Preki after one season in charge.
Saint Louis only brought back five players from a disappointing 2016 season, bringing in plenty of experience from around the rest of the league to form what looked on paper to be a competitive team. The squad used that experience to start well, but the club's defenses weakened as the year went on, conceding 48 goals, the most the team had given up in a single season in the club's short three-year history.
Record: 9-14-9, 36pts
Place: 12th in the Eastern Conference
Goals For: 35
Goals Against: 48
USL Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify
2017 leaders: Christian Volesky (8 goals, 2 assists), Four players (2 assists), Adam Grinwis (61 saves)
Things started well for Saint Louis FC, going through the first four matches of the season undefeated, including three straight wins, scoring eight goals in the process. That included a scoreless draw against eventual champions and Kings' Cup rival Louisville City FC. Saint Louis had a strong record at home as it claimed seven of its nine victories at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis, which proved a difficult place for many opponents to play. Those seven wins powered Saint Louis to the most wins it had recorded in a single season.
Saint Louis struggled significantly on the road, winning just two matches away from home all season, tied for the fewest in the league. At the root of those problems was a defense that gave away far too many opportunities to opponents. Saint Louis allowed 477 total shots over the regular season, second-highest in the league, 173 of which were on target, well above the league averages of 387 total and 141 on target, putting both goalkeepers Devala Gorrick and Adam Grinwis under significant pressure to come up big to help produce results for the side.
Following a corner kick, Ottawa Fury FC's defense clears as far as Seth Rudolph around 40 yards from goal, and the Saint Louis midfielder sent his shot back with interest as it caromed off the underside of the crossbar and in.
After a mazey run up the left wing by FC Cincinnati's Jimmy McLaughlin, the winger cuts inside and fires an impressive curling shot toward the far corner, but Devala Gorrick in the Saint Louis FC reacted perfectly to dive at full stretch and put the effort around the post for a corner.