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  • Writer's pictureBenton

Match Recap – Louisville City vs Las Vegas Lights – 06/24/2023


Photo Credit: Chris Humphries

On the heels of a hard fought 2-2 draw in Phoenix and a historic international friendly with FC Kaiserslautern, Louisville City welcomed the Las Vegas Lights to Lynn Family Stadium for the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Vegas has had a tough season and currently reside at the bottom of the table in the west. Given LouCity’s variable form, taking on a relatively weaker opponent at home was welcomed and could offer the squad a chance to build some confidence, particularly in the final third.

Lineup

The two big stories with the lineup were the return of Manny Perez and Brian Ownby. Perez has been an offensive spark from the backline and his return to the eleven was welcomed. Ownby meanwhile made his return on the bench, but the sight of his name on the teamsheet was a jolt of excitement for fans. The only other change dating back to the draw against PHX was Dylan Mares in for Elijah Wynder who was out injured.

Match Highlights

77’ – Mushagalusa

By The Numbers

Defensively, it was the type of performance we have become accustomed to seeing from the boys in purple. LV was limited to 38% possession with zero shots on target and an expected goals (xG) value of 0.47. The attack was, unfortunately, in line with what we have seen this season. Three shots on target with an xG of 1.34. Their lone goal was all it took to earn all three points. However, against such a weak foe, expectations were higher.

Shots, Assists, Key Passes
https://mastodon.skrimmage.com/@GameFlow/110604784330642881

Player Of The Match

Manny Perez had a wonderful return to the pitch. While he didn’t play for more than 60 minutes, he was quite visible during his time in action. He was defensively sound and made a few classic Manny runs down the pitch with the ball. Perez didn’t seem to miss a beat after missing some gametime.

Full-Time Thoughts

Photo Credit: Chris Humphries

It was an all-around great night at LFS. Pride night celebrations, beautiful weather, and, most importantly, LouCity earned all three points! “You look at the atmosphere when the goal goes in, the stadium erupts,” said Coach Danny Cruz. “You can feel it. I was really proud of the group getting three points at home. We needed it.” We did need it. Louisville only had one win, two draws, and two losses in the last five league matches. That’s not the track record of the powerhouse LouCity team fans have been following for years. The previous stretch would have been more palatable if the team wasn’t struggling to score like they have been all campaign. Thankfully, Matiti Mushagalusa was able to bag one in this match. “I feel like I’m in a groove,” Mushagalusa said. “Last game, it was a good goal, and that helped me with confidence.”

Photo Credit: Chris Humphries

We are accustomed to LouCity leading the pack in most measures (see 2022) yet the attack woefully lags in comparison to the rest of the league. They are below average in both goals for (GF) at 1.07 per match and expected goals for (xGF) at 1.20. Defense may win championships but the offense has to carry its weight for that to happen. This match was nearly a draw if it were not for a late push. LOU was bullying LV for the vast majority of the match, but it took the dynamic playmaking of Brian Ownby to crack the code by getting the ball to Matiti at near point-blank range.

While we can be thankful that we have Ownby, it’s a frightening thought of what could be without him. He turns 33 this July and will not be playing forever. What, or better yet, who, is the answer when he can no longer compete at this level? Ownby can bail us out for now, but it has to be one of the top roster considerations for the future. “It’s got to be better in the final third,” Coach Cruz stated after the match. “I was obviously happy — Brian comes on and changes the game. He’s worked hard to come back, and we had to limit his minutes. All in all, another shutout for the group, but I’m not naïve. I know we have to be better in the final third.”

Putting the lingering scoring concerns aside, a win at home sets the team up nicely for a huge match next weekend against 1st place Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Morados is five points behind PIT but does have a game in hand. A win on the road here could do wonders to help close the gap. Entering the match coming off a win is a nice little boost. Speaking of the table, for as much as the scoring situation has lingered in our minds, Louisville still is not in too bad of a spot. Games in hand on all above them minus Memphis and only three back on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Still a ton of time to make a climb up and put the team in a home playoff position.

Photo Credit: Chris Humphries

To end on a positive note, what about that Josh tribute!? So excited for him and his young career. We were lucky we got to see him play for his hometown club. All the best, Josh!

Parting Thoughts

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