Match Recap – Louisville City vs New York Red Bulls 2 – 07/09/2022
Following a big win over the Birmingham Legion, Louisville City was set to have their final encounter with New York Red Bulls 2. In years past, NYRB2 had been a fierce rival of LouCity having squared off multiple times in the playoffs (2016, 2017, and 2018). In recent times, the fire between the two had died down due to a downturn in the Baby Bulls’ competitiveness. Louisville got the better of them in the last road trip to their house and now it was time for their last trip to Kentucky before departing to MLS Next in 2023.
The lineup (and shape) remained unchanged from the BHM match except for Ray Serrano was slotted in for an injured Wilson Harris. Coach Danny Cruz was keeping his foot on the gas and deploying a full-strength roster against the struggling energy drinks.
This is normally where I’d highlight the goals, close calls, subs, etc. However, this match would be just a list of LouCity goals. It was truly a lop-sided affair (more on that shortly). Aside from NYRB forcing a diving save out of Danny Faundez at 68’, it was all City with them converting *most* of their opportunities. For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply leave you with the goals scored:
By The Numbers
It’s hard to understate how much Louisville City owned this match. From start to finish, they were in complete control and aside from the one shat at 68’, they never looked in danger. They accumulated a staggering xG of 4.78 compared to NY’s paltry 0.46 (which was half due to that one opportunity). Morados created eight big chances and put 13 shots on target. The scary part? Louisville has five big chances missed. The 6-0 scoreline could have been much worse.
Player Of The Match
Has it been mentioned recently that Brian Ownby is good? Not to dismiss Matiti Mushagalusa’s outstanding performance, but Ownby was the clear star of the show. With no Cameron Lancaster and no Wilson Harris, striker Ownby stepped up and had a career performance. He scored twice and had two selfless assists and could have had more of each. “I should have had five or six. I wish I would have taken some lessons from Cam,” Ownby joked after the match. When he wasn’t busy scoring or assisting, he was an absolute menace for the NYRB. He pulled defenders in every direction and tested their endurance. He may have been 10+ years older than a number of the Baby Bulls players, but his speed and athleticism was unmatched.
Wow. What a phenomenal performance from the boys in purple. They set out to put on a show and delivered. “We created — obviously — a lot of opportunities, exploited the spaces that we talked about all week with the way the Red Bull plays. I was really proud of how we handled it from a professionalism standpoint, not letting up keeping the right mentality, and sticking to our principles.” Coach Cruz stated after the match. LouCity’s quick passing and overwhelming presence in the opposition’s box was too much for NY to handle. They had no response to the superior tactics and player quality. While a number of players on that Baby Bull team will likely go on to have solid professional careers, they were not yet ready for that.
There were a number of winners from last night’s match. Jorge Gonzalez has had some terrible luck scoring this season and was able to get a confidence-boosting goal. Danny Faundez, in limited action, continued to show why he has been quietly one of the more fun success stories in this campaign. Prior to joining LouCity, he saw little on-field action but now, just shy of 30, he’s been able to put his hard work to use in Kyle Morton’s absence. Ray Serrano may not have scored, but his technical ability was on full display and he made a number of fantastic passes. And finally, Ownby and Matiti. Those two were things of nightmares for the Baby Bulls. They absolutely exposed the defense. Matiti’s hat trick earned him a place on an exclusive list in Louisville City history.
Yes, by all accounts City “should” have beaten NYRB2. However, the dominant fashion in which they did so was a pleasant surprise. It’s the kind of performance that generates a lot of confidence before a big match against Memphis 901 and that creates fans out of the first-timers in the crowd of nearly 10,500. It was a beautiful night and a thrilling win. Life is good as a Louisville city fan.
Be sure to check out my assessment of LouCity's performance the first half of the season (How's It Going Pt. 2) as well as my feature on Josh Wynder!
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
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