Match Recap – Louisville City vs Detroit City – 10/05/2022
The intro is generally where I’d recap who we are playing and the context surrounding it. I’ll be skipping that element in favor of a larger prevailing narrative the night of the match. Earlier this week, the Yates Report was released, which detailed numerous cases of misconduct with NWSL leadership. Racing Louisville was prominently featured in the report concerning the Christy Holly saga. It lifted the veil of Holly’s “for cause” termination and detailed his transgressions, along with various mishandlings of the situations by the clubs’ leadership. I encourage you to read the report yourself for the full context of what we all have learned, but I will warn you that some of the content is a tough read. The Louisville soccer community is angry and their trust in the club’s leadership has been shattered. After two days, the club responded in a manner most found unsatisfactory. This match was the first opportunity that everyone had a chance to converge since the release of the report, and it served as a venue for protest. Many chose to either forgo wearing club merchandise, wore Racing gear in solidarity with the players, wore teal as a symbol for sexual assault awareness, among other things. Estopinal End remained quiet and devoid of drumming and chanting in protest and instead replaced those actions with the holding of signs calling for action. At halftime, they unveiled tifos calling for Holly’s arrest and the dismissal of the clubs’ current president, James O’Connor. The story of this match can not be told without acknowledging these surrounding events. Should you be so inclined, I’d encourage you to donate to the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs or any other charitable cause helping those impacted by sexual assault. We are all trying to process the news and how we should react to help prompt change, myself included. I plan to continue to write as it is my escape, my creative outlet, and out of respect for the players who have worked hard all season and have not done anything wrong. If you are not in the mood to read about Louisville City soccer, I completely understand.
Tyler Gibson and Corben Bone returned to action after their suspension. Josh Wynder, who was on USMYNT duty, was also back, but began the match on the bench along with Cameron Lancaster, who has been slowly working his way back from injury. Brian Ownby, however, was still out of action and yet again omitted from the eighteen. I understand his injury to be a day-to-day type of situation. No reason to fear for his absence from the playoffs (yet).
Ray Serrano got the first quality look at goal of the night at 8’ with his shot on goal that rolled narrowly wide of the net. Both defenses hunkered down and limited opportunities for the following 20 minutes. A beautiful give-and-go sequence with Wilson Harris and Matiti Mushagalusa allowed Matiti an open shot that went off target. The Detroit attack gave LouCity fans quite a scare at 33’ with an angled shot that hit the underside of the crossbar. The deadlock was broken at 42’ with a goal from former LouCity player, Antoine Hoppenot. Louisville tried to quickly respond with a header from Harris shortly after play resumed, but it flew slightly over the goal. The boys in purple entered halftime down one at home.
The second half began with a substitution and formation change. Josh Wynder entered the match in place of Paolo DelPiccolo. PDP was the victim of a prescheduled change to get Josh into the match. Doing so changed Louisville’s shape from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2, pushing Manny Perez and Amadou Dia up the pitch into the midfield. Louisville City engaged in a counter-attack at 58’ that saw the now-midfielder Dia in possession in the Detroit box with an opportunity to shoot. Matiti was crashing towards the far post and Dia, unfortunately, sent the ball somewhere between a shot and to Matiti, resulting in it going out of play. That missed opportunity was soon forgotten as at 62’, Harris stripped Detroit of the ball at midfield, did another give-and-go with Matiti, and hit a shot that got past the keeper. Tied up 1-1. Morados was keeping the pressure on and the Harris-Matiti connection resulted in another shooting opportunity for Matiti. In an ensuing corner kick at 64’, Josh Wynder got a head to the ball and sent it in giving Louisville the 2-1 lead. Louisville, not letting up, had Matiti on a breakaway at 66’ with his resulting shot ultimately getting blocked. Matiti was taken off at 79’ for Cam, who has slowly been working his way back from injury. Josh’s brother, Elijah, entered the match for Ray at 89’ to help see out the 2-1 home win.
By The Numbers
The remarkable part about this match is that all of Detroit’s shots were in the first half. Louisville’s adjustments at the half-suffocated Detroit’s attack. LouCity ultimately dominated possession and tallied up 17 total shots (four on target). This meeting was statistically less favorable than the previous meetings this season in Detroit.
Player Of The Match
Ray Serrano had a fantastic match. He may not have scored (his early shot was close) but he did have one assist and created three chances (one big one). Like many of our young players, he has grown a lot this season. He adds a dynamic technical flair to LouCity’s attack.
Despite being competitive, the first half didn’t feel like LouCity was playing up to their full potential. That could have been inflated in my mind, given the surrounding circumstances. Coach Danny Cruz didn’t exactly fully agree with that take. “I thought we started the game really well,” he said. Detroit did find the net in that half, so maybe I wasn’t totally wrong? “We took our foot off the gas a little bit,” Coach Cruz commented on the first half. The formation change in the second half was huge. A back three has largely been iffy for LouCity when sparsely used this season, but that appeared to be exactly what was needed in this scenario. “Once we went to the back three, it changed the momentum of the game. Everyone probably felt like after the first goal that we’d get another,” Josh said after the match. Detroit may have gotten the first goal, but besides that, they did not look or feel as dangerous as when we have played them at home. This is only the first few chapters of that rivalry, so we will see how that plays out.
With LouCity’s win and results from elsewhere, Louisville secured first in the Eastern Conference, earning them a first-round bye in the playoffs. Their win also propelled them to a new club points record. “When I look at the body of work that my staff and these players have put in this year, I’m extremely proud that the East has to come through Louisville,” Coach Cruz said. “This is a difficult place to play because of the fans, the stadium, and the field size.” This has arguably been one of Louisville City’s best teams to date, and this is a testament to that. LouCity will have one regular season match to play to fine-tune their play before entering the playoffs. I am excited about the possibilities of what could be coming soon! VAMOS MORADOS!
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
Be sure to check out the Vamos Morados Podcast featuring me, Benton, and Zach Allen-Kelly. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Audible, and Spotify. Everything you need to listen can be found on the Podcast page. Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
We also host Soccer City Radio on Thursday's from 6:00-7:00 PM EST on ESPN 680/105.7