Match Recap: LIPAFC – Louisville City vs Indy Eleven – 08/08/2020
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
It’s not often that Louisville City enters a match as the underdog but that was the case last night with the latest LIPAFC match up. Indy had all of the momentum sitting atop of Group E with a record of 5-0-2 and a dominate scorer in Tyler Pasher who has been one of the league’s leading scorers with 6 goals. City, on the other hand, has struggled to convert shots into goals and accumulate wins finding themselves uncharacteristically at the bottom of the group. Indy was looking for revenge for their heartbreaking Eastern Conference Finals loss at the hands of Lou City last season and Louisville was looking to maintain their 6 match unbeaten streak against Indy Eleven.
Coach Hackworth picked what one would have to assume is his take on our squads best eleven. Our side featured a returning Paolo Del Piccolo and an interesting choice to play Napo Matsoso up high on the wing. I had always viewed him as a midfielder so I thought this was an interesting change. Indy’s side unsurprisingly featured Tyler Pasher up top and also included a returning Ilija Ilic. They had lined up with only 3 at the back which gave me a little hope that maybe we could exploit that and this would be the match our offense puts it together and starts to rack up goal after goal. Before diving into the match there is one interesting observation that warrants mention. I saw someone mention this on the Louisville City Facebook fan page after the last match but it appears that the field dimensions were altered. This was confirmed last night that roughly a yard or two was shaved off of each side (credit to Jordan Doenges for posting the picture on the Louisville City FC Fans Facebook group).
This match started off with a bang. At 2’, Napo did well to drive the ball into the box dishing it out to Cameron Lancaster whose shot was deflected just wide. The ensuing corner was pushed back out of the box. Napo again found himself in possession and at 3’, he sent a beautiful long aerial pass to the back post where Speedy was able to head it past the keeper for a goal. It was an absolutely beautiful play and exactly the flying start that we needed. Any sense of doubt was pushed aside and suddenly, at that moment, it felt like we were about to get our dominate squad back. At 7’, another shot by Cam was deflected which was recovered by Brian Ownby who shot wide left. That could have easily been goal #2 on the night. For the first 10-15 minutes with was all Louisville City. We were really looking up for the challenge of this matchup. At 18’, Sean Totsch had a great one on one stop and a clean win of the ball dampening Indy’s attempt at aggression. At 23’, we had won a free kick about 30 yards out just missing the shot top right.
By the hydration break at ~30’, things had evened out a bit but we were still looking like the better squad. Per FotMob, Speedy and Napo were both already given a 7.7 rating. Indy was slightly leading possession at 54% but they had only gotten 2 shots (1 on target) to City’s 7 (2 on target). With play resuming, our boys had seeming fallen back into the old habit of getting a number of not so great looks on goal accumulating several nonthreatening shots. Indy’s #15 started to present himself as a problem for our team using his physicality to bully our guys off the ball. At 43’, he did get a little too physical with Ownby throwing him to the ground and earning the first yellow card of the night. Towards the end of the first half, at 45’, a sloppy pass by Indy’s #29 was intercepted by Ownby who converted that into a shot but it was body blocked by a defender. Four minutes of stoppage time was granted with the only notable event being a no call foul on a tackle against Ownby. Despite that, the officiating had been quite a bit better than what we had gotten in our several previous matches.
At halftime, there was a good bit for the home fans to be happy about. We were up on the scoreboard and essentially shut down Indy’s offense. Tyler Pasher and Ilija had only earned themselves a lowly 5.5 rating. Indy still lead possession with 52% but had not gotten any more shots off. City, meanwhile, was up to 10 total shots (4 from Cam and 3 from Ownby) with 8 created chances (3 for Napo and 3 for Corben Bone). I was optimistic that we may have just found our best eleven and that more goals were to come.
The second half commenced and at 50’, a foul was committed against Ownby resulting in a free kick roughly 20 yards out which was shot high. Some of the Indy players began to get a bit frustrated with one another after some miscommunication. It appeared to be a promising sign. At 51’ the game clocks in the stadium all had frozen. I believe that at the ~54’ mark, Indy’s #29 earned himself a yellow card. Another great effort by Napo to cross the ball in traffic to Cam occurred at ~56’ with Cam’s ensuing shot getting body blocked by a defender. We had been keeping the pressure on looking like the more threatening side. Indy did not have any answers until 59’ when a cross by #30 found an unmarked Tyler Pasher on the far post who tied the game up. Pasher had found his way between our defenders and was not picked up and man marked. Another momentary defensive lapse that has cost us. Our frustrations began to show a bit when Ownby got confrontational with two Indy players. The shoving, thankfully, did not result in any cards being shown.
The pressure started to pile on when at 61’ when Napo had a poor give away that resulted with a drive down field by Pasher who, thankfully, shot wide right. At 62’, Totsch had a great block of a long pass. City continued to see heavy pressure from Indy in the 67’ – 70’ minutes which included a no call handball at 69’. The players did not protest much but the 4,850 in attendance seemed to take issue with it. We saw the first substitute action of the night with Paolo coming off for our new signing, Jason Johnson. With the offensive minded Johnson making his debut, Hack was making it clear that he was going for all 3 points on the night (as he should). At 73’, Indy subbed in #8 for #30, and #17 for the former Lou City player, Ilic. The 2nd half hydration break occurred at 77’ after the booking of Speedy for a sliding challenge. FotMob had Napo, Speedy, and Bone all favorably rated with 7.9, 7.5, and 7.5 respectively. Indy’s #30, Andrew Carleton, and #7, Ayoze, had earned themselves a rating of 8.1 and 7.3. Aside from the goal, Tyler Pasher had been largely shut down with a rating of 6.3. Possession had swung slightly in City’s favor at 51%. We were up to 20 total shots and unfortunately only the one goal to show for it.
With the match approaching crunch time, there was a missed offside call on Pasher at 84’ which was thankfully dealt with before it could become a big problem. More subs were made at 85’ with Luke Spencer and Antoine Hoppenot entering the match for Cam and Napo. Hoppenot got involved early at 87’ with a near missed bicycle kick attempt. We were ramping up our aggressiveness trying to turn the draw into a needed win. Jonathan Gomez and Akil Watts were called over to the bench and got their kits on at 88’ but never ended up making an appearance. After a 90’ free kick for Louisville into the mixer which resulted in a stopped shot, the refs announced six minutes of extra time. We kept on the pressure with a long low shot by Oscar Jimenez and a header attempt for Ownby but unfortunately were not able to find that 2nd elusive goal before full time was called.
The club really needed a win but the draw still provided a lot of positive take aways. Speedy was voted man of the match (7.4 rating) but it was Napo (8.0) who really shined. He really excelled playing up top. Despite some fans criticisms, Bone played well with a 7.7 rating and a 90% pass completion rate. Pat McMahon and Totsch continued to impress on the defensive side. Oscar did not have his best performance in purple with a low rating of 5.9. Ownby was rated 7.1 but it was yet another match where he has had chances but has not been able to convert. The opportunity at 7’ could have totally changed the game had he been able to make more of it. Johnson had a forgettable debut with a rating of 5.3. Meshing with a squad like this can take time. We will see how he works himself into the team as the season progresses.
City took a total of 22 shot but only 3 were on target. It’s the conversion in the final 3rd where we continue to struggle. We have to make the most of these opportunities and that just isn’t happening. They are playing such an aggressive style where that lack of scoring is unacceptable. I’m no longer concerned about the defense. They are largely playing well. Sure, were going to give up goals with our level of aggression but that has to be counter balanced with more goals. We have too much quality for this to continue. Hack and the boys playing up top need to crack the code. It’s a short week for them to try and figure it out as they return to action on Wednesday 8/12 against Sporting Kansas City 2. Tulsa gifted our group with a loss for St Louis helping to keep the top two spots still accessible. While it wasn’t the 3 points we needed, it was ultimately a step in the right direction.