Match Recap – Louisville City vs Miami FC – 05/13/2023
A week off the weekend of the 149th Kentucky Derby was a welcomed break for the Louisville City squad. Despite a decent table position, their output was a bit below what fans have come to expect from this team. Travel and injuries have been notable factors, but a week without a match allowed for the boys in purple to get some needed rest. Following the Derby, Morados was set to face Miami FC, who were close behind in the Eastern Conference standings. Their last meeting in August ended in a suboptimal 1-0 loss. Would LouCity’s return to the pitch be a victory or another result, leaving much to be desired?
Cameron Lancaster, Kyle Morton, and Manny Perez were all ruled out from this match, along with Jordan Scarlett being listed as questionable. Josh Wynder was out with the U-20’s as well. With these absences, the likes of Oscar Jimenez and Wes Charpie helped to fill the voids. Along with them, Carlos Moguel, Jorge Gonzalez, and Dylan Mares all earned starts. Of note on the bench was the club’s latest signing, Maarten Pouwels.
7’ – Dylan Mares
62’ – Brian Ownby
70’ – Sean Totsch
By The Numbers
Expected goals painted a nice story for LouCity on both sides of the ball. It was 2.23 xG for and 0.85 xG against for the home team. But considering each team had a PK (~0.8 xG per PK), it’s more like 1.43 xG for and 0.05 xG against. Defensively, Louisville nearly completely shut Miami out. They found only four total shots (two on target) all match. Meanwhile, Morados’ attack consisted of 15 shots (five on target) and two “big chances”.
Player Of The Match
Brian Ownby once again proves how invaluable he is for LouCity. Looking beyond his beautiful goal, he was all over the pitch, making plays on both sides of the ball. At one point, he traversed the entire pitch to stop a Miami attacking effort later in the first half. He is the living embodiment of 110% effort. This team is not the same without him and this match was yet another example of why he is so important.
In front of 11,000+ on ESPN2, Louisville City stepped up and put on a performance the city could be proud of. Despite the squad’s standing, questions were being asked about the team’s form. Particularly of their goal-scoring (or lack thereof). “Even through that stretch of not scoring as many goals as we’d like, there’s not a lack of belief,” Sean Totsch said after the match. “That’s not what this team and this club is about. We’ve worked on some things, and tonight guys had confidence and buried their chances.” Travel and injuries were certainly factors, but fans were beginning to become a little uneasy with the lack of thumpings handed out. It wasn’t just the players maintaining faith. “A lot of people were worried about it. I’m not worried about it,” Cruz said of LouCity’s scoring drought. “I made it clear: We create chances, and there was poor execution there in a few games. Every year since I’ve been here, the question comes at some point.” Here is to hoping we get more performances like we got Saturday against Miami.
For as excellent as the match was as a whole, there were still some opportunities. LouCity “won” both halves, but things really ramped up in the second half. “We were poor with the ball in the first half,” Brian Ownby said. “We turned the ball over too much and allowed them to dictate the game a little bit. We went and changed a few things with Danny and the staff. I think you saw in the second half we were able to control the flow and the second balls and areas of the field.” Take a look at the xG GameFlow chart and the SofaScore Attacking Momentum visual; the second half was clearly the better of the two. That has been the boys in purple MO for a while. For as good as they are in the first, they usually find a way to be even better in the second. After the match, Totsch commented on how teams can keep up with Louisville for one half. The team is too much for most opposition over a full 90 minutes.
The Derby break clearly did the team well. Sure, there are still some injuries, but the ability for the team to take a step back and breathe allowed them to tackle this match with renewed vigor. Hopefully, it will continue for matches to come. While injuries may have forced some roster choices, it was nice to see some faces not generally in the starting eleven. Dylan Mares worked his way into a competitive midfield and bagged an early goal. Wes Charpie put on an excellent defensive display after his long road to recovery. Oscar Jimenez proved to be a solid backfill for Manny. And Carlos Moguel earned some valuable minutes as he continues to grow match over match. Let’s not forget Elijah Wynder and Ray Serrano, who put in some work off the bench. Last but not least is the debut of Maarten Pouwels. His minutes were limited, but getting him a little time to get acclimated to a competitive environment at LFS will serve him well in the future.
All in all, it was a great night back at home. Between LouCity’s win and results elsewhere, Morados is now 2nd in the East, only one point behind the Battery. It’s worth noting that Louisville has a game in hand on the Battery (and two on the Legion right behind them in 3rd). While some of the averages may not be up to fans’ standards (yet), this team has proven they will be title contenders in the long run. FiveThirtyEight has maintained faith. LouCity still has a 55% chance to win the regular season, a 33% chance to make the finals, and a 17% chance to win it all. Just like the beginning of the season, those are all league-best. Let’s keep these results coming so that we can turn those projections into reality!
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
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