Match Recap – LIPAFC – Indy Eleven vs Louisville City – 09/18/2021
Louisville City has had some ups in downs in the latest stretch of games. Their most recent match ended in an uninspiring draw against a sub-par OKC Energy. While the playoffs are almost a certainty, the quest to win the regular-season crown may be close to out of reach. Regardless, Morados need to still win as much as possible to maintain a home-field advantage in the playoffs as long as possible. Unfortunately for LouCity, a rivalry match on the road isn’t exactly the ideal scenario to kick start a recently inconsistent team. The Indy Eleven are desperate for wins as they are fighting for their playoff lives. Would Louisville get back into the win column, or would Indy secure yet another LIPAFC victory in 2021?
Louisville City Lineup
Going back to old faithful, the 4-3-3 (and perhaps a 3-4-3 at times), Coach Danny Cruz deployed what we could consider the best (healthy) eleven. The dangerous trio of Cameron Lancaster, Antoine Hoppenot, and Brian Ownby led the line backed up by Jorge Gonzalez, Paolo DelPiccolo, and Tyler Gibson. Sean Totsch, Alexis Souahy, Jonathan Gomez, and Oscar Jimenez formed the back line in front of Chris Hubbard between the sticks. It was a lineup the screamed “three points or bust”.
This match did not start like many others that have happened this season. LouCity was not able to establish the early control and dedicate the match. It began as a rather even affair. LouCity tried to play the ball out of the back, but Indy Eleven’s press was successful in the first half in disrupting City’s ability to get in Indy’s half. At 13’, Hubbard was called on to block a low, hard shot from an Indy attacker. Roughly five minutes later, a tussle broke out at midfield between Gibson, a former Indy man, and one of his former teammates. “It’s pretty clear: We don’t like Indy,” Coach Cruz said post-match. “It is what it is, so these games always have a little bit of bite to them — a little bit of fire.” As the match continued, it was arguably Indy who was in control. The press was resulting in turnovers to Indy in the LouCity half, but thankfully, Louisville’s defense was holding solid and not allowing for any quality chances. As successful as Indy’s plan began, it wasn’t flawless, and LouCity was able to exploit it late in the first. At 41’, on the counter, Jorge sent in a beautiful leading pass to Hoppenot, was able to maintain possession in traffic and slip the ball in for the opening goal of the match.
Shortly before halftime was called, Cam, looking for the team’s second goal, fired off a shot near goal from a cross that was body blocked out. A goal-saving deflection for Indy that allowed them to enter the locker room only down one.
With Indy now down and their plan a little less effective, the game opened up and allowed Louisville City more involvement. The home side hadn’t rolled over quite yet, though. At 50’, they hammer a rocket toward goal that Hubbard (awkwardly) deflected out of play. Roughly 12 minutes later, the first LouCity substitute, Niall McCabe, entered the match for PDP. At this point in the match, legs were becoming tired and LouCity found the opportunity they were looking for. At 67’, Hoppenot launched in a cross near goal that was expertly headed by Lancaster over the diving keeper. 2-0 City!
Only a few minutes later, Cam and Antoine came off for Napo Matsoso and Kyle Grieg. Akil Watts would enter the match for Oscar at 87’ to see off the team’s road LIPAFC win.
By The Numbers
Although City edged out Indy for total possession, a little over 2/3rds of City’s accurate passes occurred in their own half. Much of this was a direct result of Indy’s pressing game plan. Had Indy did better in other categories there might be a case for possession quality, however, City was the superior team in many other metrics as well. This includes shots (both total and on-target), chances created, and expected goals (xG). In fact, the xG story was a testament to how quality LouCity’s defense was on the night. For a line that has had many difficulties this season, this will be a performance for them to look back fondly on.
On LIPAFC in 2021, Coach Cruz stated that the team “understand that in the first two games we didn’t get the results we’re looking for.” With a loss and a draw in the series this season, City was on the verge of allowing our northern rivals bragging rights over the series (for this season, at least). Despite their recent run of form and being away from home, the boys got it done and in fairly dominating fashion. While Indy deserves a little kudos for their press and its early success, it wasn’t sustainable and the boys in purple figured it out. Hoppenot has a knack for making the lives of Indy fans hell. “He gets fired up when he’s here,” Coach Danny Cruz said of Hoppenot. And Cam got his goal and was able to taunt the Indy fans in retaliation to Jordan Hamilton’s actions towards the LouCity faithful at Lynn Family Stadium. And let’s not forget the defense. Indy’s attack was extra quiet. The defensive line put in a shift and showed the caliber of play they are capable of. There are many things to be thankful for with this LIPAFC win. I hope the boys had fun celebrating the big win and come back to practice reinvigorated to keep the wins coming.
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