Match Recap – FC Tulsa vs Louisville City – 07/10/2021
Following a beat down of Swope Park Rangers in their house, the boys in purple were away again, returning to Tulsa. The previous encounter resulted in Louisville City leaving with all three points. However, it didn’t end up being a comfortable win as the home team nearly salvaged a draw. The Roughnecks are in playoff contention and would be looking to make up for the previous TULvLOU outing. Would this still somewhat unfamiliar foe be able to expose the weaknesses of Louisville City or would Morados manage another road victory?
Louisville City Lineup
The eleven featured the return of Chris Hubbard and Napo Matsoso. Cameron Lancaster, coming back from injury, made a reappearance on the bench for this match. Much like the first TULvLOU match, the 4-3-3 was used. A formation the team is well acquainted with. A safe choice.
The action started early, but it was not in favor of LouCity. At 6’, a curling free-kick from the side of the box got by the fingertips of Hubbard with the assist of a minor deflection from an attacker. An early lead for Tulsa. Several minutes later, Antoine Hoppenot got the ball to a wide-open Brian Ownby who unfortunately did not make the most of the fantastic opportunity and sent it just wide of the net, not challenging the keeper. Disaster, unfortunately, struck again at 16’. A chip over the Louisville backline left the defenders scrambling to mark two sprinting attackers. One crossed the ball back center of the net, beating the charging keeper to the ball, where the other was able to get his head to it into the open goal. 2-0 Tulsa. City, eager to get back into the match, had another near-miss opportunity less than ten minutes later. Jonathan Gomez sent a high cross into the box that Hoppenot nearly got a foot on but did not make the contact needed to send it in the right direction. Not long after, Hoppenot went down in the box by way of a trip, however, this was not ruled a penalty kick. With the attack not clicking, a PK could have possibly gone a long way in helping the squad regain a little confidence and a way back into the match. At 40’, things went from bad to worse. On the counter, FC Tulsa took a shot left of the goal that was deflected by Hubbard who came off his line to make himself bigger. The ball stayed in play and came right down to a waiting attacker who got his head to it before any LouCity defender and put his team up 3-0. All was not lost as Kyle Greig put Louisville City on the board with a goal right at 45’. A cross from Ownby made it through traffic to Greig, who easily poked it in. Despite controlling the match, LouCity went into the half down by two.
Entering the second half, Niall McCabe came into the match for Napo and Cam made his return to the pitch for Hoppenot. In the first 15 minutes, Cam had two different tries on goal coming off corner kicks, however, he was unable to put them on target. Third times a charm. At 61’, Lancaster made a fantastic jumping header to put a high cross into the net to make the scoreline 3-2.
Roughly five minutes later, Hubbard was tested with a laser of a near-post shot that he did well to use his cat-like reflexes to stop. At 70’, Paolo DelPiccolo came off and made way for Tyler Gibson to enter the match. Still looking for a third goal, Akil Watts relieved Alexis Souhay at 83’ and Jimmy McLaughlin came in for Greig at 88’. That last goal never came. FC Tulsa got their revenge beating Louisville City 3-2.
By The Numbers
This was a textbook example of possession not correlating to a win. Despite ending with almost 70% possession, Louisville City had fewer shots on target and fewer chances created. They had nearly three times as many passes at Tulsa, however, almost 60% of those were in City’s half. LouCity did get a lot of successful crosses off but did not create enough scoring opportunities which is reflected in the xG. Tulsa was unfortunately efficient and created ten chances with their 30% possession. When you are well organized and make the most of your opportunity, who needs possession?
Louisville’s bad day coupled with Tulsa's efficiency ended with another missed opportunity for Morados. An inverse of the first encounter; City went down bad early and clawed their way back but ultimately fell short. FC Tulsa is a beatable opponent, but the squad needs to be more effective for that to happen. You’re going to have a hard time winning when you let three into your net. Taylor Sorrels astutely pointed out that Louisville has allowed eight goals in three matches and eleven in the last four. There is a lingering defensive problem that needs to be rectified. Post-match, Coach Danny Cruz stated, “Obviously, really frustrated conceding three goals here again. We’re leaking goals at the moment, so it’s something certainly that I need to do a better job of, and we’ll work toward fixing that.” On the offensive side of things, there were opportunities (particularly in the first half) to get back into the match but it wasn’t meant to be. “Obviously, I had the opportunity to put one in the back of the net to make it one-one — didn’t,” said Ownby. “I could’ve changed everything, but we’ve just got to be better with the ball. We’ve got to value it better.” If you are going to have a leaky defense, you’ve got to have the attack to back it up. LouCity lacked their normal polish and had an uncharacteristically bad night. While City is still in playoff contention, those points would have helped in the squad’s pursuit for a regular-season championship. The boys will have to quickly put the frustration of this road trip into the rearview mirror as they return home on Wednesday to face OKC Energy FC and then ATL2 on Saturday.
Also, be sure to check out the Vamos Morados Podcast! I’m now in the podcasting game now along with Zach Allen-Kelly. And it’s now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Audible, Spotify, and probably other platforms I’m not specifically familiar with! Everything you need to listen can be found on the Podcast page. Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
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