The Tulsa road trip wasn’t any fun for Louisville City, but they thankfully did not have to wait long to right the wrongs of Saturday and make up some lost points. The OKC Energy posed a unique challenge for the squad, but not an insurmountable one. It was a quick turnaround between matches against an unfamiliar opponent who fortunately appeared to be operating at a below-average standard. Were the boys in purple able to make it a rebound win, or would it be a second consecutive match of pain?
Louisville City Lineup
Sporting the all-purple kits, the team was once again deployed in the familiar 4-3-3. Several changes were made between the last match and this one, including the inclusion of Tyler Gibson, Pat McMahon, and Jimmy McLaughlin. The likes of Antoine Hoppenot, Alexis Souahy, and Paolo DelPiccolo were left on the bench while Napo Matsoso was out of the eighteen entirely. Given the short rest, a bit of rotation like this is to be expected.
It took about ten or so minutes for the game to get settled before LouCity got the party started. Jonathan Gomez, who has been making headlines for several reasons recently, launched a corner kick perfectly into the box to Wes Charpie, who headed it past the keeper for his second career goal! Post-match, he shared, “It felt good. I think it was a different attitude this time because of coming off of the Saturday result we really wanted to make a statement today and come out strong.”
After the goal, things subsided a bit into a back-and-forth struggle with Louisville, looking more threatening of the two sides. The Energy, sporting a wild pink and green kit, were unable to even threaten Morados’ defense until about thirty minutes in when two half-chances in the box were quickly snuffed out. At 40’, Louisville City was unfortunately unable to capitalize on a big chance. A scrum in the OKC box resulted in several deflected shots ending with the best chance by Corben Bone, whose strike went off a defender for a corner. Off the ensuing corner kick, a stunning, curling shot by Gibson bounced off the goalie and was pounced on by the savvy striker, Cameron Lancaster. That keeper didn’t stand a chance. 2-0 good guys entering halftime.
Much like the first half, it only took City about ten minutes to get going before the fun resumed. JoGo drove down the left side of the pitch and made an adept pass well beyond that on a normal 17-year-old to Corben Bone on the box's edge. A dribble or two got him into the box, where he was given plenty of time to line up his shot and put it into the net. 3-0 for purple.
Unfortunately, a clean sheet was not to be as the Energy found a goal of their own at 61’. It was an extremely well-placed shot just inches away from Chris Hubbard’s fingertips. Following this goal, PDP and Souahy came in for two of the goal scorers, Bone and Wes. JoGo nearly found a goal of his own on a cross near the net to Ownby. It narrowly missed both the foot of Brian Ownby and the far post. At 74’, Kyle Greig and George Davis IV relieved Cam and Ownby. Jimmy nearly earned himself an assist with a cross to Greig at 77’ that was just a touch off target. Nearing the end of the match was another memorable moment for the club. At 86’, the 16-year-old academy product, Joshua Wynder made his first career appearance. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was just starting soccer,” he said after the match. “To have it happen at home with a beautiful stadium, beautiful fans, it’s amazing.” He was the second academy player to make a senior team appearance following in his older brother, Elijah. When the final whistle blew, there were several reasons to celebrate.
By The Numbers
This match was unique as LouCity lost both the possession battle and total passes, two stats they normally outperform on. The caveat with those numbers is the fact that a lot of the possession and passing by OKC took place in their own half. As the scoring reflected, it was a tale of two halves. The first was all Louisville. The second was a bit more even of an encounter. City was clinically efficient with their shots and created a number of opportunities. Aside from the one goal allowed, it was an extremely positive night.
This team has done a tremendous job bouncing back after tough losses. There were a ton of positives to take away from LOUvOKC. A crowd of 10,000+ on a Wednesday, the team secured a convincing win on short rest while rotating players, and they were lethal in front of the net. Coach Cruz stated, “That’s a locker room that knows what it takes to win and certainly their heads don’t go down when the results don’t go our way.” Louisville City is now first in the division with a 98% chance to make the playoffs and a 23% chance to make the finals (2nd in the league) according to FiveThirtyEight. If the team we saw against the Energy are the ones to show up week after week, there is little reason to doubt those numbers.
Also, be sure to check out the Vamos Morados Podcast! I’m now in the podcasting game along with Zach Allen-Kelly. And it’s now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Audible, Spotify, and probably other platforms I’m not specifically familiar with! Everything you need to listen can be found on the Podcast page. Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
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