Match Recap – Memphis 901 vs Louisville City – 07/16/2022
The slaughtering of the bulls was a needed confidence boost for Louisville City, heading into a big road match against Memphis 901. A clash of the Eastern Conference titans. Number one versus number two. This match was a playoff-caliber test for both teams that would have big implications on the table. Memphis historically hasn’t performed well against City, but this 901 squad is a step above their past iterations. Could 901 prove they are the real deal or would LouCity solidify their position as the best in the East?
With both Cameron Lancaster and Wilson Harris still out of the mix, a lineup similar to the previous match was deployed. One notable exception was the return of Kyle Morton after his scary injury against Tampa in early June.
MEMvLOU was a tight contest with both teams’ defenses doing well to limit opportunities. At 25’, a handball by a Memphis defender in their box went uncalled and could have served as the moment to change the tides of the match. As the half crept towards its conclusion, City found a shot through a crowd of bodies at 43’ but it was gobbled up by the keepers. Before the whistle blew, 901’s Patrick Seagrist fouled Niall McCabe, earning him his second yellow and put his team down to ten men. A fortuitous turn of events for LouCity before the break.
Paolo DelPiccolo entered the match for Jorge Gonzalez at the start of the second half. Disaster struck for the boys in purple at 62’ when Amadou Dia received his second yellow on a challenge for the ball. Both teams were now even with ten men each. It didn’t take long for 901 to capitalize as they scored at 66’ off a shot from third base that bounced off a body and past Morton. Corben Bone, Napo Matsoso, and Manny Perez entered the match immediately after for Tyler Gibson, Matiti Mushagalusa, and PDP. Thankfully, City struck back shortly after. A free kick from McCabe was flicked into the net by Brian Ownby at 72’ to even the scoreline. Less than ten minutes later, Ownby did it again. A beautiful cross by Ray Serrano was headed out of reach from the keeper to put the visitors up 2-1. Ian Soler entered the match for Serrano at 90+1 for only his second appearance since the Monterey Bay match (he had been dealing with an injury). 901’s GK was shown a red for a handball call at midfield during their desperate attempts to level the match in the final minutes, but the 2-1 scoreline held.
By The Numbers
Louisville City’s xG of 1.39 was their 5th lowest of the season. The boys in purple only found three on-target shots in the whole match. On the flip side, 901’s xG of 0.69 is below the season’s average for LouCity opponents at 0.84. The home team was held to only two on-target shots. With possession evenly split and poor passing rates (69% for MEM and 73% for LOU), this was a real grind for both squads. Not a ton of statistical positives for either squad. But at the end of the day, it’s only the 2-1 scoreline that really matters.
Player Of The Match
Another match and another POTM honor for Brian Ownby. One of LouCity’s best players of all time is currently playing at his absolute peak. The birthday boy bagged two goals and was a problem for Memphis’ respectable defense. Let’s also not forget that he is playing a role that is a bit unfamiliar to him as he is stepping up in the absence of Cam and Wilson. “I think he’s embraced the different roles he’s had to play,” Coach Danny Cruz commented after the match. Brilliant work by the beard.
As predicted, a stressful viewing for City and 901 fans but a fun one for the neutrals. It’s not often that you get a number one versus number two match with three red cards. It was chippy and a whopping eleven cards were handed out overall, with the home team receiving the majority. “I talked to them at halftime about staying out of all the (stuff),” Coach Cruz said. “Memphis is the team that’s constantly talking. They’re trying to get in our players’ heads.” Thankfully, Louisville was still able to get the job done. Morados appeared to be the better team and the final score reflected that. It wasn’t the prettiest display, but rather the kind of match the team had to grind out. A true gutsy performance. I was hoping for the team to get tested with a playoff-like match and that is exactly what happened.
Louisville City remains top of the East with a three-point gap between them and number two, Tampa Bay Rowdies. FiveThirtyEight’s projections for LouCity have only gotten better with Cruz’s posy up to a 37% chance to make the finals and a 22% chance to win it all. Only San Antonio leads them (42% and 24% respectively). Things are bright and should these trends continue, we are in for another historic season. Vamos Morados!
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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