Match Recap – Louisville City vs San Diego Loyal – 09/16/2023
The loss to the Rowdies was suboptimal, but as Ted Lasso says, “Be a goldfish.” Results from elsewhere meant that Louisville City still controlled their own fate in terms of securing the last home playoff spot. It wasn’t going to be easy though as the next match was 4th in the West San Diego Loyal. Matches with SD have always been wild (see the last meeting) and given they are folding after the season, they are likely to have a chip on their shoulder. With an uncomfortable stretch of away matches following this lone September LFS game, getting a result was almost a necessity.
5’ – Harris
By The Numbers
Louisville City got the job done in what I had expected to be a close contest. While the 1-0 finish suggests it was, it didn’t exactly look like 4th in the East vs 4th in the West. The Loyal had 62% possession in the match, however, over 2/3rds of their accurate passes were in their own half. They had a lot of the ball but were not doing a ton with it. They did find five on-target shots, a total equal to LOU’s, but they only accumulated an expected goal (xG) value of 0.61 (compared to LouCity’s 2.00). I was a little disappointed that a second goal did not come, but a win is a win. SD’s use of a back three and a sweeper keeper was begging for a chipped goal but those in attendance were not lucky enough to see the aggressive goalie positioning punished. Ultimately, the team played well and took advantage of playing at home.
Louisville City had a chance to clinch a playoff berth with the win plus results from elsewhere. Unfortunately, Tulsa’s win over the Roots meant that City will have to wait a little longer to make that official. Memphis got the job done against a woeful Hartford side, so they remain hot on LOU’s tail for 4th in the East. Breathing room would have been nice as Louisville is back in action in just a few days at Miami and then again at Loudoun. These are teams that LouCity *should* beat under normal circumstances, but travel and short rest will make that a bit challenging. “The biggest thing for me is, we need to make sure we have the bite on the road that we have had a good portion of this year,” Coach Danny Cruz said. “And we need to make sure we start the game the right way like we’ve talked about. We have the quality in that room to make sure we continue to perform well in the next three games. The focus is obviously on Wednesday.” Only five left in the regular season, so every point is critical from here on out!
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