Match Recap – Louisville City vs Sporting Kansas City 2 – 10/09/2021
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Louisville City had only secured two wins in their last five. While they have avoided losses in that stretch, the race for the top in the Central Division has become tighter than ever. Those matches were all on the road except for their most recent encounter, which saw City securing all three points against New Mexico United. The next foe LouCity would face in their quest to position themselves well for the upcoming playoffs was Sporting Kansas City. Would they be able to grab all three points at home and keep the Birmingham Legion from overtaking their top spot in the division?
Louisville City Lineup
With Jonathan Gomez out of the equation because of his call up to the Mexican U20 training camp, Pat McMahon got the nod to start on the back line. The rest of the 4-3-3 remained unchanged from the previous match against New Mexico. It is worth mentioning, however, that Wes Charpie had returned for selection for the first time since picking up an injury a few matches ago.
Louisville City was looking dangerous early. Within the first three minutes, two crosses narrowly missed being converted into goal-scoring opportunities. At 5’, a clever back heel touch from Paolo DelPiccolo to Cameron Lancaster was shot goal-bound but was just wide of the net. It wasn’t long until City found the back of the net. A cross from Brian Ownby to PDP at the top of the box was slotted past the keeper at 9’ for LouCity’s first goal of the night! A promising sign considering that Louisville is 15-1-3 when scoring first.
After the excitement of the first ten minutes, things settled in as SKC2 began to hold their own a little more. Unfortunately for the visitors, at 29’, the GK came off of his line for a loose ball being chased down by Ownby. Ownby beat the keeper to it but was taken out by the keeper, resulting in the ref pointing to the spot. Cam stepped up to take the penalty and made it look easy. 2-0 for Morados!
Kansas City did well to limit Louisville opportunities for the rest of the half but struggled to find their own chances. In added time, the visitors made something from nothing. A long-range shot from outside of the box was launched into the top right corner past Chris Hubbard for Sporting KC’s first goal. A low probability shot that unfortunately found the net. Louisville City would enter the half still up by one.
The second half began with Antoine Hoppenot and Alexis Souahy coming off for Jimmy McLaughlin and Charpie. At 54’, PDP sent a pass to Cam in the SKC final third. The double coverage prevented a clean reception of the ball, but Lancaster adeptly secured the ball and fired in a shot to the far post that sailed slightly wide. Two minutes later, LouCity put the pressure on KC. With numbers in their half, a cross came in to Cam waiting in the box who took the one-time shot on goal. The Sporting keeper made an acrobatic save to prevent City from finding their third. Spectacular effort by the KC goalie and unfortunate for Louisville to have not secured goal number three. At 65’, a SKC defender missed a header allowing Ownby to have the ball in a dangerous spot. He put a cross in front of the net that missed connecting with Cam. Many close calls with the crosses on the night, but the former Swope Park Rangers have done just enough to disrupt those plays from coming together. Niall McCabe came into the match at 70’ and received the captain’s armband from the exiting PDP. As the match approached the final ten minutes, Louisville City could not maintain their lead. At 83’, a hard Sporting KC shot eluded a diving Chris Hubbard and tied the match up 2-2. Kansas City took full advantage of the momentum swing and, within two minutes, scored another. A phenomenal shot from the edge of the box sailed into the top left corner. With SKC2 now leading, Abdou Mbake Thiam was subbed in for Napo Matsoso for additional firepower in the final minutes. Immediate payoff. On a LouCity attack, Thiam’s cross in the box went a bit far, but a persistent Oscar Jimenez tracked it down and blasted it in at close range at an awkward angle. 3-3!
LouCity was awarded a free-kick outside of the box at 90’. It was a well taken shot by Cam, but a leaping save by the KC keeper kept it out of the net. The pressure was on as time dwindled down. Three minutes of extra time were added and City took full advantage of it. LouCity, who was awarded a free kick at 93’, kicked in a long, Hail Mary cross into the box near the far post. It was headed by Ownby down towards the center of the box. Cameron Lancaster played savior for Louisville and kicked it in for the winning goal! 4-3 Louisville City! “It’s hard to digest at the moment," Lancaster said. "Honestly, it was a lot of emotion, and we shouldn’t have gone down the way that we did, but great belief from the guys to fight back. The goal was a bit of a blur because I saw the ball get to my foot and smashed it in. The rest is history.”
By The Numbers
While Louisville City has proven to be the more successful side in essentially every statistical category throughout the season, Sporting KC2 made this a much closer match than anyone would have thought. While City outshot SKC2 13 to 8 (8 to 4 on-target), the home team only created one more chance. A big improvement for KC from last time. LouCity had several outstanding individual performances, including Cam (2 goals, 8.9 rating), Ownby (2 assists, 8.8 rating, 5 created chances), and PDP (1 goal, 8.6 rating).
What. A. Match. The final ten minutes saw several highs and lows for LouCity fans. It was an emotional rollercoaster that will not soon be forgotten. While conceding three to Sporting KC2 is less than ideal, scoring four and finishing the match in such a dramatic fashion helps to make that a lot more palatable. In City’s defense, the goals that KC scored were quality and, I suspect, low probability shots (the xG data is not yet available at the time of writing). Post-match, Coach Cruz stated, “I was at a little bit of a loss for words because the game was pretty wild, but I know one thing, and that’s that I continue every week to be proud to be the manager of this group. I said to the players that there is real value going through what we just went through. To respond the way that we did, it would have been very easy to crumble, and we didn’t — especially when you start thinking about playoffs and needing late goals at times.” While the excitement was still in the air from the electric finish, he also acknowledged there were issues that created the circumstances for the comeback win. “We need to go through the tape and fix a few different areas when you concede that many goals at home.” The boys grinded out a win and thats all that matters at the end of the day.
After the conclusion of the match week, home field has been officially confirmed for the first round of the playoffs for Louisville City. Expected news but a relief to hear officially nonetheless. Seeing as Birmingham won over the weekend as well, they are still nipping at LouCity’s heels for the first place spot. FiveThirtyEight is still giving City the edge, but time will tell. It is likely it will come down to BHMvLOU at the end of the regular season.
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