Match Recap – Hartford Athletic vs Louisville City – 06/25/2022
The home win over Orange County set Louisville City up to begin the second half of the regular season on a positive note. “I know it’s easy to just look at those results and be concerned, but at the end of the day, I think my group trusts our process,” Coach Danny Cruz commented. “We were confident in spite of the results and confident we’ll continue to push forward and grow.” Next up for LouCity was a trip north to face Hartford Athletic. This struggling Eastern conference foe would be the perfect opportunity to begin a run to string together results. Would the positive momentum carry over from the OC win?
Both Kyle Morton and Cameron Lancaster were not in the mix for this match. While Wilson Harris was available, he started on the bench. Manny Perez also made a reappearance back into the eighteen. This left the unique pairing of Brian Ownby, Matiti Mushagalusa, and Ray Serrano up top. Jorge Gonzalez led the midfield backed by both Niall McCabe and Tyler Gibson. Wes Charpie, Josh Wynder, Sean Totsch, and Amadou Dia made up the backline with Danny Faundez between the sticks for his second start. Like the past several matches, the boys in purple lined up in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.
Only nine minutes into the match, Ray Serrano was looking to get the team an early lead with a sneaky quick shot at the near post. Unfortunately, the Hartford keeper was ready and kept it out of his net. Only a few minutes later, a long pass over LouCity’s backline resulted in a hard shot from the home team’s attack that Danny Faundez blocked. HFD made many attempts in this match to exploit the long ball weakness we saw in Louisville’s match against Los Dos, resulting in 11 offside calls against the home team. At 19’, Jorge made a leaping header on target that was snagged out of the air by the goalie. The action died down for roughly twenty minutes before Hartford made a move. In possession in Louisville’s box, the Hartford attacker went for a cross to his charging teammate that was hit out by Josh Wynder with a sliding tackle. Excellent defending to prevent a very dangerous goal-scoring opportunity. LouCity responded at 43’ with the best shot of the match yet. It was a rocket of a shot from Ray into the top corner of the net that was narrowly deflected away by a diving save from the Hartford keeper. The scoreline remained level 0-0.
The action resumed rather quickly in the second half. Hartford Athletic took a crack at goal at 47’ that forced a big block by Faundez. . At 60’, Louisville made their first switch of the match, taking our Ray for Wilson Harris. A few minutes later, Hartford had another shot hammer off the near post. Following that close call, Louisville City broke the stalemate. At 64’, Sean Totsch made an expertly placed header that made it past the goalie to put the visitors up 1-0. “We’re going to get a goal somewhere,” Totsch said after the match, “whether that’s someone scoring a really nice goal or whether it’s a set-piece or a penalty or something scrappy. That’s what good teams do. They score goals in different ways. We talk about it all the time that as long as we don’t hurt ourselves and keep ourselves in the game, teams are going to wear down, and we’re going to get our goals.” The match began to drift more and more in LouCity’s favor. At 76’, Manny Perez, Napo Matsoso, and Paolo DelPiccolo all entered the fray, with Josh, Niall McCabe, and Matiti Mushagalusa coming off. PDP didn’t wait to get involved. At 79’, Jorge sent the ball into the box to PDP, whose fantastic positioning allowed for him to take the easy shot and put Louisville up 2-0. A scoreline that would hold for the remainder of the match.
By The Numbers
Numerically, this is the type of match we have come to expect from LouCity. 54% possession with 13 shots and six on target. They tallied over 500 passes with an 85% success rate along with 11 crosses with a 42% success rate. Their first and second halves were relatively similar except for their two big chances and, subsequently, two goals scored.
Player Of The Match
Sean Totsch didn’t have the phenomenal start to the season many have come to expect from him. With the talents of Wes Charpie and the emergence of Josh Wynder, it looked earlier on that he would have to fight harder than he had ever had to for a starting role with Louisville City. Thankfully, Sean has risen to the challenge and reminded everyone why he has been a staple on the backline for several years running. Beyond the goal he scored this match, he won 7 duels (most on the squad) and earned a player rating of 8.4. For his efforts, he deserves POTM accolades.
I entered this match confident that it was a winnable affair and was happy to be proven right. LouCity’s tendency to have a slow first half and kick it into the next gear in the second had me a little nervous, but ultimately they got the job done. “I thought it was an absolute grind from the group,” said Coach Cruz. “The mentality was fantastic. They were difficult conditions with regard to the heat and the turf, but we talked about it all week: making sure we had no excuses when we walked out of this stadium.” After a few suboptimal results in May/early June, it appears that City could be set to get more consistent results. While OC and Hartford were not the most challenging on paper, their next match against the Birmingham Legion should be a greater test. With the likes of Kyle Morton, Cameron Lancaster, and Wilson Harris nearly healthy, there is plenty of reason to remain optimistic about this team’s ability despite the greater challenges that lie ahead.
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
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