Match Recap – Louisville City vs Memphis 901 – 06/12/2021
June 12th,2021 will be a special date in Louisville City history. It was the first match in Lynn Family Stadium with all attendance restrictions lifted. COVID-19 derailed life as we knew it and ruined plans for a true grand opening of the stadium in 2020. Now, with the virus in a much better spot, it was time to celebrate like in the “before times.” While this positive storyline dominated the buildup to the LOUvMEM match, the less inspiring narrative of Morados’ two-game losing streak remained in the mind of fans. Would Memphis 901 provide a much-needed win to get the team back on track?
Louisville City Lineup
The most recent loss to ATL2 appears to have influenced a few shakeups in the starting eleven. Alexis Souahy, Napo Matsoso, and Niall McCabe were left on the bench in favor of Tyler Gibson, Wes Charpie, and Jonathan Gomez who just returned from his time with the Mexican National Team. Reverting to old ways, the team played in the 4-3-3 that was regularly used in the Hackworth era. Cameron Lancaster again started on the bench as a precaution to not further aggravate his minor hamstring issue. After the match, Coach Cruz said “We didn’t want to throw him back into it after having a week off. Obviously, he missed Atlanta and trained about half the week. So we weren’t going to throw him into it. Knew it was going to be a hot night.”
Both teams eased into the match early on with LouCity dominating possession. Given Memphis’ past performance, their lack of control over the match was of little surprise. Within the first 15 minutes, each team got in a half-chance; Charpie with a header over the crossbar off a corner and an angled 901 shot that was thankfully just off target. Between the 20’ and 32’, City again tested the Memphis defense. Bone took a shot from outside the box that sailed just wide left of the top corner. This was followed a bit later by a Paolo DelPiccolo shot coming off a quick pass from Greig inside the box. This attempted was tipped out of play. Closing in on the end of the first half was Area Code FC’s best chance of the night. A fantastic pass threaded through the Louisville back line made it to a charging attacker that was just a step ahead of Sean Totsch. The attacker was one-on-one with Chris Hubbard. Hubbard got the better of the exchange and secured shot and preserved the 0-0 scoreline. While LouCity was finding opportunities (nine chances created by this point), they could not find the back of the net by the end of the first.
Early in the second half, Louisville City nearly found their first goal. A corner kick was sent into the mixer at 48’ and Totsch got his head to it. The ball bounce off the near post and to a defender who got the ball out of the dangerous area. Ten minutes later, the game was turned on its head. Greig was charging towards the box with possession when a defender made a professional foul to stop his advancement. The jostling took place on the edge of the box, with the most egregious offense in the box itself. The referee called for a free kick on the box's edge to the dismay of the fans. Interestingly enough, the defender was issued a straight red card. It was an odd sequence but one that played to the home team’s advantage. The free-kick was taken and hit immediately into a wall of players. PDP got the rebound and sent it to Charpie who buried it home for the first goal of the night and the first of his USL career! Wes impressed in his season debut when subbed in against Atlanta United and now, in his first 2021 start, he banged in a goal. A special moment for the defender.
At 62’ City took out Greig and Antoine Hoppenot for McCabe and Lancaster. It didn’t take long for the purple-haired Cam to make a difference. Cam attempted to cut by a defender in the box and was clearly fouled, earning him a penalty kick. The veteran striker lined up for the PK and scored the second goal of the evening.
The fun didn’t stop there. An unmarked JoGo took the ball into the box at 70’ and crossed it to Brian Ownby. The cross was hit by a defender but not cleared. It went airborne and Ownby put his bald head to it to make it 3-0.
By this point, the 10-man 901 side knew defeat was imminent and City felt comfortable with where they were at. Aside from Souhay, Akil Watts, and Jimmy McLaughlin making it onto the pitch, the match ended with some half-hearted play from both sides. A full 90 minutes was not needed to decide this one.
By The Numbers
With 13 chances created and eight on-target shots, Louisville City was looking dangerous. Not only was the attacking improved from the previous match but the passing as well. 87% pass success on 454 total passes. They moved the ball and moved it effectively. A tremendous difference in the number of key passes between Louisville and Memphis (below). City was on top of 901 all night, as you can see in the players' average positions (also below). Memphis was kept to a dismal 0.27 xG compared to LouCity’s 2.73. All around solid numbers for the boys in purple.
A convincing and confidence-boosting win. EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Coming off two losses, with the most recent being a fairly poor performance, the team needed a three-point match to get back on track. “It feels good,” Wes Charpie said post-match. “We had a really good week in training, and we know that we dropped points. We are a team that shouldn’t be dropping points because we have the quality and are expected to win.” Between reverting back to the comfort of the well-established 4-3-3 play and the return of JoGo, LouCity was in a prime position to rebound, and that they did.
Aside from the result itself, it was a special night for the fans, front office, and all other staff members of Louisville City and Lynn Family Stadium. Having 12,115 fans fill the stadium for the first time back to “normal” was incredible. It was the atmosphere we had all dreamed up way back when the LFS project was announced several years ago. “You could feel it on the bench. The players even talked about it in the locker room. This atmosphere is something special and the players feed off it.” Coach Cruz stated. With the ability to fill the stadium, march, and sit by fellow fans again, we are entering a new era of Louisville City history.