Louisville City had little time to ponder their deflating midweek loss to Tulsa, as a trip north to Indy awaited them only days later. Indy Eleven has struggled over the past few seasons, yet they have managed to get the better of LouCity. The boys in purple have lost two of the last three LIPAFC encounters, including a frustrating away day last August. FiveThirtyEight may have given Morados a favorable 46% chance to win to Indy’s 27% but playing from home on short rest doesn’t exactly set the good guys up for success. Would this be a rebound for Coach Danny Cruz’s team or a stinging rivalry loss?
It was a similar starting lineup as the last match, with the exception of Ray Serrano joining the fold. Former Indy midfielder Tyler Gibson was questionable after exiting the match in Tulsa holding his leg but thankfully he was fit enough to be the steady midfield cog that he is.
20’ – Harris
By The Numbers
Louisville City was the aggressor in the first half, with one goal from five shots (two on target) to Indy’s one shot on target. The script flipped in the second as LouCity weathered a storm of nine shots (three on target) with only two of their own (none on target). Regardless of the shot volume, neither team was really finding particularly threatening chances. Louisville came in at an expected goal (xG) value of 0.66 to the home side’s 0.89. It wouldn’t have been totally unusual for a match like this to end as an unsatisfying 0-0 draw, but thankfully Harris’ corner tap-in was the difference between one point and three in the standings.
Player Of The Match
Oliver Semmle has been a pleasant surprise this season and was arguably one of the bigger difference-makers in this one. He made four saves to help his side scrape out an all-important rivalry win on the road.
Given the short rest, playing away from home against a rival who has gotten the better of the team for the most part of the last two seasons, walking out with all three points is a great result. “This is a very difficult place to play,” Coach Danny Cruz said. “These guys are basically playing in sand. Both teams have to do it, but I was really proud of the defensive group. Ollie made some critical saves for us.” Indy had the advantage of not only being home but having a full week between matches, making this all the more a success for the boys in purple. “Halftime came, and you could tell the guys were fatigued,” said Coach Cruz. “We spoke about needing to suffer to get to where we want to go. We were under it for sure.” This win was less about the offense and more about the defense and their ability to hang on to the clean sheet. “I thought we were really relentless defensively — defending in the box especially,” Wilson Harris said. “…Especially since we’re rivals, we don’t take this one lightly at all. It was a good environment tonight, and I love a good environment. I think the boys do too.”
With that win, LouCity now sits in third in the East with 20 points. They are behind Rampa Bay on goal differential and are four points back from the Charleston Battery. It is worth noting that Louisville does have a game in hand and could potentially bring the gap between them and first down to just one point with a win. For as many problems as it has felt like this squad has had this season, they are still in a relatively excellent spot. They are still the favorites to win the regular season (42% chance per FiveThirtyEight), 29% chance to make the finals, and 16% chance to win it. It’s not too farfetched to think that there is still another gear in this team that could help them propel those projections even higher. Creating chances and, more importantly, scoring has been a bit of a struggle, but given the team’s history of success, patience is still in order. This is a team that knows how to win and they will continue to work through these hurdles, much like they always have. Hopefully, the positive momentum after a nice win like this will help be a catalyst for even more success in the coming matches.
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following: