Match Recap – Detroit City vs Louisville City – 08/20/2022
After a much-needed dominant performance over the Rowdies, it was right back to work for Louisville City to prepare for a tough stretch of away matching beginning with the first ever league meeting against Detroit City. The newcomers to the USL have made a slash in multiple ways. They are on track to make the playoffs straight out the gate and they bring with them some of the most… passionate fans in American soccer. Keyworth may not be a big venue, but they fill it to the brim and generate one of the more exciting atmospheres in the league. No matter their standing, away to Detroit will always be a challenge should that energy be maintained year over year. Would they be the ones to slow LouCity’s momentum?
Cameron Lancaster and Josh Wynder remain out injured with Niall McCabe joining them after being a late scratch in LOUvTBR. Along with these injuries, both Brian Ownby and Jorge Gonzalez were absent from the eighteen. Corben Bone and Wilson Harris re-entered the starting lineup after beginning on the bench in the last match.
Ray Serrano wasted no time kicking this match off. His rocket of a shot just a few minutes in from the corner of the box was deflected away by the fingertips of the diving Detroit keeper. LouCity controlled the early few minutes, but Detroit found their footing. It wasn’t until 26’ did the LouCity defense get their first scare with a shot that flew narrowly wide of the near post. The match was proving to be a gritty affair with a lot of physicality and the refs getting good use out of their whistles. Opportunities were limited, and neither team was able to find the back of the net and the first half came to a close 0-0.
Right away in the second half, LouCity charged down the pitch, ending with a beautiful pass from Matiti Mushagalusa to Ray, who was unable to bury the sitter. A big missed opportunity. A minute later, Matiti found a shot of his own under pressure that was deflected over the crossbar. Detroit responded with a shot bouncing off the crossbar mere minutes later. At 55’, a shot from Matiti was blocked but not secured. Ray nearly got the rebound by a Detroit defender beat him to it to eliminate the danger. Several minutes later, Corben Bone came out of the match and Carlos Moguel entered in his place. At 66’, in a scrum following a deflected shot in Detroit’s box, Ray is taken down, and a PK is called. Sean Totsch lines up and buries the shot, giving LouCity the lead. A few minutes later, Wes Charpie was shown a red card for jostling with an attacker in a counter-attack and denying a goal-scoring opportunity. Oscar Jimenez and Ian Soler came into the match for Matiti and Ray. At 82’, Napo Matsoso relieved Paolo DelPiccolo to see out the rest of the match. Detroit was desperately attacking in the final minutes but was unable to break down the Louisville defense. In added time, Wilson’s emotions got the best of him and some time wasting earned him a second yellow card and put LouCity down to nine men for the final few minutes of the match. It was emotional and messy, but Louisville managed to secure all three points on the road.
By The Numbers
Despite the gap in the standings, Detroit did admirably to go toe to toe with LouCity. However, LouCity still had the edge (when it was 11v11). Louisville had 52% possession, with a 65% accurate pass rate and two shots on target in the first half. Detroit, meanwhile, had 48% possession with a paltry 36% accurate pass rate and no on-target shots. In the second half (when the red cards came out), Detroit won out on the possession battle 63% to 37% with both teams finding four on-target shots each. LouCity’s passing dropped to 50% and Detroit’s rose to 73%. In the end, LouCity edged out the home side with one goal and an xG of 1.31 to Detroit’s 0.77 xG. Ultimately, the stronger side did win, but not comfortably.
Player Of The Match
While his performance may have gotten a bit overshadowed by the drama of the emotional match, Manny Perez had a solid outing. He passed well and won the most duels in the match (11). He adds a creative spark to an otherwise no-nonsense defending back line. With a lot of talent on the LouCity backline, he has fought and earned every minute he has played, and performances like this really strengthen his case to become a more regular fixture in the starting lineup.
Everyone had a strong opinion on this match, including the PK call, the red card(s), and the home team’s commentators. Wade into the mess that is Twitter at your own risk. I think the calls were soft, but ultimately not unreasonable. Wilson Harris’ was frustrating because it was preventable and self-inflicted, but he is a young player that will grow from the moment. Looking past all the shenanigans, it was another stiff test for LouCity. In front of a hostile crowd, the boys in purple snagged three points from a Detroit that may be slightly better than their standing in the table suggests. It was a gritty and physical affair. After the match, Coach Danny Cruz shared his thought, “I felt we were relentless for 90 minutes,” he said. “It’s about being resilient, about having the right mentality, understanding that the ball is going to spent half the time at this stadium in the air. I felt that given what the game asked for, we answered the call. I was really, really proud of how our group handled going up a goal. I was really proud of how our group handled the red cards that we received — a collective effort from the group and I couldn’t be more proud.”
The win was procured but at the cost of two red cards. Wes’ red will see him out for MIAvLOU, INDvLOU, and LOUvSAC and Wilson’s double yellow red will keep him out of the mix for just MIAvLOU. Josh may be back in action for the Miami match to back fill Wes’ absence, but with Cam seemingly out for the long term, the lack of attacking depth could be an issue for the next one. Let’s hope some combination of Ownby, Matiti, Jorge, and Ray are ready for action. Despite the challenge caused by those absences, Louisville got some help with a Tampa Bay loss, a Memphis loss, and a San Antonio draw. City now leads the East by four points with a game in hand. They are now also only two points behind the league leaders San Antonio with a match still to play. Not only are things beginning to look more comfortable in the division, but the regular season title is now more within reach. FiveThirtyEight is painting a rosy picture for Morados. Let’s see if they can keep this momentum up!
Be sure to check out my assessment of LouCity's performance the first half of the season (How's It Going Pt. 2) as well as my feature on Josh Wynder!
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