Louisville City is eight games into the 2023 USL season and they have managed to secure four wins with two draws and two losses. With 14 points earned, they currently sit in 3rd in the East (with game(s) in hand). FiveThirtyEight is still projecting confidence in LouCity; 48% chance for 1st in the regular season with a 31% chance to make the final and a 16% chance to win it. With all that said, the team’s on-field performance has not projected that confidence to fans. The magnitude of the two losses has been reviewed ad nauseam but the draws (particularly the last two) have felt more like escapes with a point rather than three points nearly earned. Even in winning, there has been a lot left to desire, particularly in the goal-scoring department. In this piece, we will take a step back and review the team’s season thus far and see how they stack up to the competition and their past seasons.
Let’s start with the obvious; the goals have not been coming at the same frequency we have gotten accustomed to. Last season, a very similar roster was scoring at a rate of 1.88 goals for per game (GF/G). This season, Morados is only at 0.88 GF/G. That is a full one goal decrease on average. While the sample size is still somewhat small, it’s a concerning drop, nonetheless. The average has only decreased since the last check-in. The team sits 19th in the league. You can’t win championships with a goal-scoring average near the bottom. Expected goals for (xGF) doesn’t paint a better picture. They are 22nd with 0.92 xGF/G. They are not scoring a ton per match and, based on historical data on their shots, they shouldn’t be scoring a lot either.
Speaking of shots, not only have they not been of the highest quality, they haven’t been at a heavy volume either. Sometimes you have to test the keeper even in suboptimal situations, but the team struggles to even be doing that. They are averaging 10.13 shots for per game (ShtF/G) (17th) and a shot-to-goal ratio (ShtF/GF) of 11.57 (19th). Even their goals added (G+) isn’t great. At 0.789 G+F/90min, they are near the bottom of the list for all USL teams. To put it bluntly, this team has had quite the offensive drop-off compared to last season. And considering the stability of the roster, one would expect a somewhat similar performance.
What about the boys in purple defensive performances? Well, they are averaging 1.25 goals against per game (GA/G) which puts them in 13th. They expected goals against (xGA/G) is a 1.42 which has them in 18th. It’s not as dire of a situation as the attack, but still not a great place to be considering the team’s numbers last season of 0.82 GA/G and 0.92 xGA/G. That is about a half a goal average increase per game. They are facing 12.38 shots per game (ShtA/G) (18th) and a shot-to-goal ratio against (ShtA/GA) of 9.90 (9th). G+A/90min is also one of the worst at 1.306.
Ultimately, it’s been a clear drop-off in performance compared to last season. The ELP and SAC losses do skew the data a bit but the downward trend is still present. There is still a lot of season left to right these wrongs but thus far, calling Louisville City one of the league’s top teams doesn’t feel completely true (but beating SA did feel quite nice). Between the quality of the individuals on the roster and expectations set from the past, the bar is higher than where they are currently at. LouCity has yet to win the regular season title, and this start has not put them in prime position to win that elusive accolade. Again, still time for things to get better but the start has been less than inspiring.
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following: