Louisville City Offseason Roundup
With the start of the USL’s regular season less than a week away, now feels like a good time to run through the events of the offseason. Below are some quick recaps on items such as personnel, preseason matches, and storylines to watch. Several links have been provided to allow for additional reading should you be interested. Let’s jump right into it:
Roster members from 2020 no longer on the 2021 roster include Luke Spencer, Speedy Williams, Ben Lundt, Jimmy Ockford, Jason Johnson, Kenney Walker, and Arda Bulut. I covered these departures back in a January post but there are a few minor updates. Johnson has since signed with the Austin Bold, Walker has signed with Kings Hammer FC in USL League Two, and Bulut is now in the Turkish League with Kasimpasa.
Jay Tee Kamara – A young talent dubbed the “Sierra Leone Messi”. The staff seemed very impressed with his abilities but he has since been loaned out to North Carolina FC in USL League One. It may be a bit before we see him in purple.
Parker Siegfried – Adding to the goalkeeper competition is the Columbus Crew academy product and Ohio State alumni. Because of some injuries at Sporting KC, he has gone out on what’s expected to be a temporary loan.
Jorge Gonzalez – Another JoGo has been acquired. Jorge has joined the team via a loan with the Portland Timbers. Another attacking option at Coach Hackworth’s disposal.
Academy Signings – LouCity has seven, yes, SEVEN, academy players signed this offseason. They are forwards Dino Hodzic and Hunter Sekelsky; midfielder Carlos Moguel Jr.; and defenders Anthony Cano, Owen Damm, Sebastian Sanchez, and Joshua Wynder. A few of these players traveled and played with the first team during a few of the preseason matchups!
Below are all the preseason encounters along with their results. Unfortunately, most were not viewable by fans so what the club has shared is all that is known. It was an aggressive schedule (as noted in the 2021 Season Preview) that should have done well to prepare the boys for the upcoming season.
There were some interesting tactical decisions in this match which was held at home with fans. It’s worth checking out the recap as it could be a glimpse into what we can expect during the regular season.
Others Noteworthy Items
Morados were invited to participate in the 2021 “Open” Cup but then it was canceled. Or delayed. Honestly, who knows what will happen with it at this point. Taylor Sorrels does a good job of bashing US Soccer. It’s embarrassing but not shocking.
Elijah Wynder, unfortunately, suffered a serious leg injury and will probably miss the 2021 season. Hate to see it, as he was in a prime position to battle for playing time. Wish him a speedy recovery and hope he comes back stronger.
The 2021 kits were released today (pictured above). Given that the LouCity kit launch had to follow Racing’s massively successful launch and the fact that Adidas doesn’t allow the same level of customization (can only select from templates), I am pleased with what we got. The utilization of white helps to diversify these kits from years past and the fan-favorite “hoops” style has made its return. The club has opted not to release the third kit yet so we will wait and see how that turns out.
Storylines To Watch
The Absence of Speedy
Despite maintaining the vast majority of the 2020 roster, losing Speedy is a big deal. He had served as a pivotal component of the club's success over the past few years and will not easily be replaced. Tyler Gibson is largely expected to fill that role. He is no slouch and a solid pickup for the squad but it will be worth watching how that change will impact the team’s performance.
The Development of Jonathan Gomez
It’s no secret that this is almost certainly JoGo’s last season with the club. He probably won’t even remain for the entirety of the 2021 campaign. His future lies in Europe where he will continue his career at a higher level. It’s a win for everyone involved and there should be no hard feelings about it. His development throughout the season will be something to keep an eye on.
Last season was extra short for Niall McCabe who picked up an injury and was out for much of the 2020 season. Niall has been with the club since the very beginning and has played a big role in its success. With the wealth of attacking options at our disposal (Hoppenot, Ownby, Napo, etc.). It will be interesting to see how he fits into the mix. Perhaps his versatility is leveraged and we see him in a variety of roles.