Match Recap – Louisville City vs FC Tulsa – 05/28/2022
With the loss to Nashville SC being the club’s third consecutive loss in all competitions, Louisville City had added motivation going into their match against Tulsa. Like the Monterey Bay match, it’s a match in which LouCity enters as the favorites, however, anything can happen and another “off” performance from the boys in purple could lead to the club’s first four-match losing streak. Coach Danny Cruz saw an improved mentality from the boys against Nashville compared to the Monterey match, but there were still kinks to work out. Was Tulsa destined to be the match in which they would get back to their winning ways?
Sean Totsch, Oscar Jimenez, and Tyler Gibson all made returns to the starting eleven. Cameron Lancaster, who has made a few appearances off the bench after returning from injury, made his first start of the campaign. “Wilson has put in a lot of minutes over the course of this season so far, and I wanted to get Cam a start.” Coach Cruz commented after the match. Much like the MB match, the formation was listed as a 4-2-3-1, however, it played much like the normal 4-3-3 we have been known for. Heavy control over the match can really skew the analytics sites’ perception of the playing formation.
Cam made his presence felt early on with a good look on goal only 5’ into the match that was dove on by the keeper. Tulsa responded a few minutes later with a header off a corner kick that sailed just wide of the near post. At 19’, Cam sent a free-kick into the box. Josh Wynder fired off a shot when it settled on the ground, but the goalie leapt up and pulled the on-target shot out of the air. Only a few minutes later, Cam again had another free-kick. However, his shot was narrowly wide. The visitors were on the counter-attack at 30’. Kyle Morton, who was off his line, made a leaping one-handed stop of a lobbed shot to preserve the 0-0 scoreline. It was Louisville’s turn on the counter a few minutes later. Brian Ownby send a cross through the box that Corben Bone missed connecting on and Jorge Gonzalez failed to hit due to a defender’s presence. A very close call for the home team. Unfortunately, Tulsa immediately responded. On the ensuing goal kick at 34’, the keeper bombed the ball to midfield. It was headed forward to an attacker who beat the backline. The ensuing near post shot got by Morton and gave the visitors the lead from nothing. City, however, got one of their own before the end of the half. In the second minute of stoppage, Ownby was taken out in the box and Louisville was awarded a penalty. Cam took the shot and score his first regular-season goal.
Entering the second half, Manny Perez came off the bench for the first time and replaced Oscar. It didn’t take long into the second half for LouCity to find the back of the net again. At 53’, Amadou Dia sent the ball to Cam, who slotted it past the keeper at the near post for his second of the match. “It wasn’t the greatest penalty. I was a bit pissed off with myself that it didn’t just fly into the net. But I was able to get off the mark, and the second one followed, so I was pleased.” Cam stated on his goals after the match. A few minutes later, Ownby had a good shot of his own off a pass from Manny, but it was secured by the keeper. At 64’, Tulsa scored an own goal that was the product of Jorge in a dangerous position putting the home team up 3-1. Tulsa was unfortunate to have not clawed one back at 71’ with a shot that got past Morton and hit off the post. At 77’, LouCity brought in Napo Matsoso, Matiti Mushagalusa, and Wilson Harris for Paolo DelPiccolo, Jorge, and Cam. Ten minutes later, Manny came off for Wes Charpie to see out the win. However, the final scoreline was not set. In the third minute of extra time, Wilson scored off an assist from Matiti to make it 4-1 for the home team. An exciting finish for a splendid match.
By The Numbers
Statistically, this was a classic LouCity performance, dominating in the majority of categories. Tulsa was out-possessed, outshot, and ultimately outscored. While Louisville had a whopping 66% possession in the first half, their second half was only at 48%. Despite the drop, they earned three goals on five on-target shots in that second half compared to the one goal and three on-target shots in the first. This continues the trend of Morados being a second-half team. This season, they are averaging 0.77 goals in the first half and 1.31 in the second. 26% of Louisville goals have come between 46’ and 60’ followed by 22% between 76’ and 90’.
Player Of The Match
Welcome back, Cameron Lancaster! In his first regular-season start, he bagged two goals and created the most chances (three) in the match. With his two goals, he is now third all-time for regular-season goals in the USL Championship. What a way to let the league know that you are back!
As fun as cup runs are, they can have adverse consequences on the regular season campaign. On the heels of a 120-minute affair in Detroit, the boys had to hop on a plane and take on an unfamiliar foe in LA, which ultimately became their first loss. Their next loss, at home against Monterey Bay, was less explainable, but those below-expectation performances happen to every team every year. And finally, there is Nashville. A few short days later, but thankfully no travel was required. They fought valiantly but fell to their southern MLS neighbors in the last seconds. This would have been relatively palatable to any other team. But for Louisville City and their fans, this was uncomfortable territory. How spoiled are we that we can get agitated over what will be a relatively small span in the full season calendar?
Losing is never enjoyable, and the squad knows it. They wanted to rebound with a win and they certainly delivered. “I think when you look at it holistically, when you this stretch we’ve been on with so many games in such a short amount of time, I was really happy to see the response from the group,” Coach Cruz stated. While there were a number of tactical and decision-based items Coach Cruz wanted to see addressed, one aspect he kept coming back to was the mentality. It was the area that agitated him the most with the last 20-30 minutes against MB and it was the area he saw improvement in against Nashville. He ended his post-Nashville comments confident in a win against Tulsa if they came in with the right mentality. Looks like they did just that.
To me, this victory was more than just a rebound. It was a statement. Morados had a point to prove after a few down performances and they did just that. Like LA and Monterey, Tulsa is a team on paper they knew they could beat. They prepared accordingly and delivered. While there are always takeaways and areas to improve, their successes and the things they did right outweighed any opportunities. You learn more about a team with losses and how they respond. The previous stretch gave them areas to focus on to become better. The feeling of relief after this Tulsa win will help remind them of the hard work they have to do every day to stay on top. In the grand scheme, they will be better off for the stretch of LA to Tulsa. I’m glad to see LouCity back to their winning ways.
Be sure to check out my assessment of LouCity's start to the season as well as my feature on Josh Wynder!
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