Match Recap – Louisville City vs Charlotte Independence – 11/13/2021 – 2021 Playoffs
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
With the Miami match in the rear-view mirror, Louisville City’s next focus was their second-round opposition, the Charlotte Independence. The Independence entered this matchup as the #2 team in the Atlantic boasting statistics quite comparable to LouCity. Thankfully, Morados had earned the slight edge by being able to play the match on their home field, Lynn Family Stadium. The winner of this matchup would earn a trip to Tampa to face the Rowdies (who bested the Legion) in the Eastern Conference Finals. Would City keep the streak alive of attending every Eastern Conference Finals since their inception or would CLT take the trip sound to possibly win some hardware?
Louisville City Lineup
Not much to report here as the starting eleven has remained unchanged, as has the 4-3-3 formation.
The first decent look at goal came from the visitors when, at 9’, a quick drive down the pitch to Louisville City’s half resulted in an angled shot across the goal that rolled out of bounds. A minute later, Wes Charpie was able to get in front of an attacker attempting a header shot from a cross into the box. At 17’, a cross from Brian Ownby was deflected to the top of the box where an awaiting Paolo DelPiccolo took a crack at it, but the Independence keeper caught the shot. A shot from Ownby at 24’ had promise however it was body blocked by a defender. Lots of back and forth between the teams, with each exerting enough defensive effort to keep the scoreline even at 0-0. Cameron Lancaster looked to break the deadlock with a slow shot on goal at 33’ that rolled a mere foot off-target and out of bounds. When the first 45 minutes came to a close, the score remained 0-0,fouls, with on-target shots limited to one apiece, but LouCity finding more opportunities and maintaining more possession.
The early stages of the second half was more of the same; great buildup by both sides, but opportunities sniffed out and shut down before they can fully develop and turn into serious goal-scoring chances. All along the way, both teams have committed a number of small fouls, with the match becoming more and more chippy as the stress level rise. At 65’ it was a very close call for LouCity when Cam flicked the ball to Bone who sent over a short cross to Jorge Gonzales right in front of goal who did manage to send the ball towards goal in heavy traffic but the keeper deflected it away. CLT immediately countered, dancing around the box with the ball, ending with a shot wide of the net. Five minutes later, LouCity made their first subs of the night. PDP and came off for Gibson and Niall McCabe was replaced by Antoine Hoppenot. At 74’, a Charlotte player took a go at goal from the outside of the box, forcing a leaping deflection save from Chris Hubbard. An outstanding strike and a great effort by Hubbard to keep it out of the net. Louisville’s next substitution was Napo Matosos for Corben Bone at 85’. Two minutes later would be the moment that transformed the match. Jonathan Gomez charged down the edge of the CLT box with the ball in tow. A juke move put the defender on the ground and JoGo took that opportunity to make his break into the box. The defenders had impeded JoGo’s movement of the ball right inside the box and with a blow of the whistle and a point to the spot, Louisville City had an opportunity to rack up the match's first goal and potentially avoid extra time. These are the opportunities where Cam makes his money and tonight was no different. 1-0 Louisville with only minutes remaining.
After that, Kyle Greig came in for Cam to see off the match. Five minutes of stoppage time was called, but Louisville was able to keep the ball out of their net for the duration of that time.
By The Numbers
Much like the previous playoff match, this was a close encounter. With a final xG of 1.83, LouCity edged out Charlotte at 1.23 xG. Louisville was also the superior side when examining on-target shots, created chances, and successful passes as well. While the large home pitch of LFS was likely a factor, it was very promising to see the boys in purple edge out a foe of that caliber.
If you thought that the previous match against Miami was a nail-biter, this match took it to the next level. It was another physical and test game that featured solid opportunities from both teams with no clear superior side. It was the type of match where the team with the fewest mistakes will win and that is exactly what it came down to. “I saw him all week take penalties,” Coach Danny Cruz said post-match of Cam. “He is confident anytime he steps up to the spot.” With the skillful ball work of JoGo to earn the foul and quality of Cam’s PK abilities, Louisville City extends their streak of attending every Eastern Conference Finals since the club's inception. “You don’t see that all around the world — that is for sure,” Coach Cruz said of the appearance streak. “I think it is a testament to the organization, to everything that everybody does here at Louisville City every day. That is from the back office to the players. It is the collective goal that the entire club has. To be able to do that year in and year out is certainly special.”
With that victory, it was official that City would be heading south to St. Pete to once again battle the Tampa Bay Rowdies for a trip to the finals. “I’ve watched them play quite a few times this year only because they’ve been doing well,” PDP said of next weekend's foe. “Obviously they’re a good team and they’ve got good players through and through. So, for us, it’s just another challenge.” “It’s an opportunity to play for a trophy,” Coach Cruz added. “That is what this group has done year in and year out. This is just another opportunity. We understand the stakes. We understand what it takes to accomplish that. I am confident in the group of guys that I have in there.” With the stakes of the match and the amazing efforts of the front office to support our rabid supporters, it’s shaping up to be quite the away trip! If you are unable to make it, be sure to cheer on the boys from afar at the watch party!
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