Early Impressions Of Louisville City 2023
Louisville City is six games into the 2023 regular season and find themselves 2nd in the East with 12 points and a 4-2-0 (W-L-D) record. FiveThirtyEight is still projecting confidence in Morados and has them with a league-best 53% chance to secure 1st overall along with a 32% chance to make the finals and a 17% chance to win it all. The first five were a mixed bag but a win over the reigning champs have the boys in purple back riding high. So, with a few games under their belt, what do we know about this LouCity squad?
Test In The West
One of the storylines heading into this season was the new schedule format and the fact LouCity would see all the teams in the West at least once. Five of the first six were against Western Conference opponents. So, how have they fared against them? Three wins and two losses with 5 goals for (GF) and 9 goals against (GA). The losses to El Paso and Sacramento were quite brutal on the goal differential. Three of those matches were out west, with the first two of the season requiring a long stay in CA. When you factor out how bad the SAC loss felt, six of nine points on the road really isn’t bad. Ultimately, the boys have more work to do cross-conference, but the start hasn’t been all bad.
The formation was another area of interest heading into the season however; we have not seen many full-on system changes. Most changes have been the result of personnel availability. Between injuries to Jordan Scarlett and Wes Charpie and Josh Wynder’s intermittent USMNT absences, central defense has been one of the driving factors to the team needing to get creative. The SAC loss did see a back three used, but the biggest change we have seen hasn’t been with shape. The win over SA did see the boys in purple using the traditional 4-3-3. However, it was how they approached the game that was quite different from what we are accustomed to seeing. Coach Danny Cruz made tactical decisions to make SA uncomfortable, including making them lead in possession, which ultimately paid off. So far, the high-pressing 4-3-3 is still the status quo for the team, but don’t count them out for mixing it up as needed.
A few new players joined the team for 2023. Dylan Mares and Jordan Scarlett were two bigger signings, but it’s been Rasmus Thellufsen and Oliver Semmle who have made the bigger early impacts. Thellufsen has started in all the league matches thus far and has seamlessly fit into the squad. His contributions haven’t been the flashiest, but he had been a net positive in the midfield. He isn’t quite the defensive-minded presence that Tyler Gibson is, but he is a quiet contributor, much like Gibson. It’s hard to join a new team, especially in a brand-new country, so I only expect his impact to grow the more time he gets on the pitch. Considering that we retained the talents of Kyle Morton and Danny Faundez, Semmle has been a big pleasant surprise. The staff had been excited about him and it’s showing in his early call-ups to start. As of this writing, he has appeared to have earned the GK1 spot and had done a tremendous job. His signing is looking more and more like a coup for the club.
Let’s dive into the nerd stuff. We are talking about a sample of only six matches, so take this somewhat smaller sample size with a grain of salt. Charts galore are below, but we will hit the high points here. Offensively, there is work to be done with this team. Louisville is 14th for GF/G (1.00) and 18th for xGF/G (1.09) (more on xG here). They are 16th for ShtF/G (10.83) and 14th for Shots To Goals (10.83). That is 0.101 xGF per shot. These are all somewhat average numbers and certainly below average for LouCity’s lofty standards. They are averaging about 0.80 less GF/G and xGF/G compared to 2022. Similar story defensively, 18th for GA/G (1.50) and 18th for xGA/G (1.43). The ELP and SAC matches do a number on those averages, but still an area that can be improved upon. It’s still early, but it’s statistically a slow start for Morados.
Matches Of Interest
Looking ahead a little bit, here are some of the upcoming matches of interest.
Charleston Battery – 04/22/2023
Ben Pirmann made MEM a threat last season and it looks like he is working the same magic in his new home. As of this writing, they sit ahead of LouCity in the East with 14 points and a 4-0-2 record. CHSvLOU just so happens to be the next match. Louisville’s big tests thus far have been SAC and SA. Will this go the way of the SAC result or the SA result?
Indy Eleven – 05/27/2023
LIPAFC has some new spice to it with a revamped Indy team. They have started slow, just five points on a 1-2-2 record, but it’s still early and I’m not convinced they are a mid to lower-table team.
Phoenix Rising – 06/17/2023
Phoenix had a rough 2022 and will be looking to bounce back in 2023. Like Indy, it’s been a slow start, but this should still be a good match given the historical competitiveness between the two franchises. They historically had pushed to battle LouCity for the label as one of the best in the league and will be looking to reinsert their names into that convo.
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
Be sure to check out the Vamos Morados Podcast featuring me, Benton, and Zach Allen-Kelly. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Audible, and Spotify. Everything you need to listen can be found on the Podcast page. Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
If you don’t follow the site on Facebook, do yourself the favor and follow there so you don’t miss any of the action! I'm also on Twitter dispensing #LouCity and #RacingLou info and thoughts as well as Instagram!