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Match Recap: Louisville City vs Memphis 901 - 09/19/2020

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On Saturday, Louisville City took on Memphis 901 in their final non-Group E opponent of the 2020 regular season. Coming off two wins over Indy and a win against Saint Louis, City entered the match red hot and was looking to keep that momentum going into the playoffs. Memphis, meanwhile, has had a rough time in Group G and recently parted ways with their head coach. Tim Howard’s team was already 0-2 against Louisville, and the third encounter was not looking promising.

Given the perceived easy of the matchup, Coach Hackwork chose not to take too many risks and left many of the regular’s starters in the starting eleven. Notable adjustments to the side included Brian Ownby in for Napo Matoso in the right-winger role, Jonathan Gomez in at Oscar Jimenez’s left-back spot, and Wes Charpie getting the nod over Pat McMahon. I think many fans, including myself, were looking for rotation than what we got. Jason Johnson was at the top of my list of players I would have liked to have seen get a start followed by Chris Hubbard. I respect Hackworth’s decision. It may have appeared to be an easier match, but they cannot be taken lightly. The points from the match still mattered, and there are remaining regular-season matches for some less-seen faces to get some minutes.

The action at Lynn Family Stadium began early when at 4’ Ownby sent a beautiful pass into Antoine Hoppenot, who was one on one with the keeper. Unfortunately, he could not control the ball to get an on-target shot off. At 11’, Corben Bone tried his luck from a distance, sending a screamer at the goal that narrowly missed. The first goal of the night came at 14’ when Ownby sent in a nice pass into Cameron Lancaster, who buried it home. An early lead was secured and Brian Ownby was already looking much sharper than in previous appearances. Ownby made his presence felt again with an outstanding left-footed goal on the box’s edge at 24’. Already two goals down, the away side buckled down and limited opportunities for Lou City for the rest of the half. Desperation kicked in and they found a goal of their own at 44’ right before the half. After two minutes of additional time, half was called with the scoreline a little closer than the home fans would have liked to have seen.

Memphis came out early in the second half, trying to salvage something from the trip up north. A member of the 901 sent a cross into the box, which found the head of a teammate who sent the ball bouncing off the crossbar. At 58’, Memphis deployed three fresh sets of legs into the match. About ten minutes later, City made several changes of their own. Oscar and Akil Watts came into the match for JoGo and Paolo DelPiccolo. At 72’ is when the match’s real highlight happened. Hoppenot took an angled shot on the Memphis goal, which was stopped by the keeper but not secured. Cam was right by the loose ball, but with a defender closing in, he did not have time to turn around. The star striker made a cheeky back heel shot that got pasted the keeper securing a brace and his 50th league goal. It was a stunning goal that left the fans buzzing. “Those are pure instinct," Lancaster said post-match. "The ball was behind me, and to be honest I was too tired to turn and shoot so I just thought, ‘Let me give it a little back heel,’ and it bounced up past the keeper and went in.” Following that SC Top 10 worthy goal, Memphis used their final two substitutions of the night. At 82’, Ownby nearly had a brace of his own. Ben Lundt exposed 901’s high defensive line with a long pass to Ownby, who used his speed to break away and take on the charging keeper one on one. Unfortunately, though, Ownby did not get to register a shot due to a defender who was able to close the play down. After this play, Cam and Hoppenot’s nights were done as the new father, Luke Spencer, and Jason Johnson made their appearance in the match. It did not take long at all for these switches to pay off. Luke ran down the right side of the Memphis box and sent the ball into the feet of Bone, who was able to tally up the fourth goal for the good guys. Jimmy Ockford got an appearance in the match replacing Wes Chaprie for the final three minutes of stoppage time, but there was not much that Memphis could do at that point to influence the outcome.

It was a splendid night for Morados, especially for Cameron Lancaster. He bagged two goals on two on-target shots and received a fantastic player rating of 9.1 along with Man of the Match honors. Ownby had a memorable night of his own with one goal, one assist, an 82% pass success rate, and a 9.0 player rating. If it were not for Cam’s brace and highlight-reel goal, Brain may have been the Man of the Match. Let’s not forget some of the supporting players. The always reliable Speedy Williams completed the most passes of the match (73) with the highest success rate of 97%. Fellow midfielder Corben Bone found a goal of his own and completed 84% of his passes. Louisville City ended the night with 62% ball possession and 15 shots on goal with eight being on target. They created an outrageous 17 chances and completed almost twice as many accurate passes than Memphis. Aside from the one goal, it was nearly a perfect performance from the home side. Lou City has not only found their rhythm this season, but has maintained it for the past nine matches!

According to the league, Louisville has not yet clinched a playoff spot, but they are in no matter how you slice the math. The playoffs are secured and FiveThirtyEight has given City a 98% chance for the number one seed. Should that pan out, Lou City would face off against Hartford Athletic in the first round of the playoffs. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are still two regulars season matches left. Next Saturday, it’s away to Saint Louis for the final Kings’ Cup and the last match will be one more matchup against Sporting KC in Lynn Family stadium. Time to finish strong! Vamos Morados!

P.S. Wear your mask and be sure to go vote in November!

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