Match Recap – New Mexico United vs Louisville City – 09/30/2023
Louisville City is off to Albuquerque after securing a dramatic win over Loudoun United. New Mexico United has not done well in the West this season, and LouCity will be hoping they can repeat the performance they had against the black and yellow during their first meeting in 2021. Standings in the East are tight and Louisville needs all the points they can get to push for a home playoff spot. Would this be the night for upward movement on the table?
By The Numbers
“The entire evening was a disgrace,” said Coach Danny Cruz. “I don’t think it had anything to do with tactics. I think it had everything to do with desire, heart, and quality on the ball. There’s no other way to describe it — not representative of the club.” Coach Cruz did not mince words when it came to describing his team’s woeful New Mexico match. The boys showed little signs of life in one of the final few matches of the regular season, in which they are still in the thick of a playoff positioning battle. It ended up being a golden opportunity, too, with the Birmingham Legion beating Memphis 901, who only held a goal differential lead over Louisville City. “It was absolutely a lost opportunity. We were aware on the sideline when that (Memphis) game ended.” If knowing mid-match what a result would mean isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is. This is even ignoring the fact that LouCity held a man advantage beginning early in the second half, which ultimately became a two-man advantage after a hilarious second yellow to a player who had only been on the pitch for less than 20 minutes. The expected goals (xG) graphic above tells the story; NM took advantage of their opportunities, while Morados couldn’t even break 1.0 xG in a match in which they held a significant advantage. I encourage you to listen to Coach Cruz’s remarks after the match. I agree with him that it was not a tactics issue. The team was set up to perform, but they lacked the mindset we have come to expect from a LouCity team. His comments on players’ efforts dictated by the pitch they get to play on particularly disturbing. This all but confirms that we can probably expect a big roster shakeup in the offseason.
But before we can talk offseason, the 2023 season is not yet complete. Despite the bad vibes, LouCity is locked in for the playoffs, and aspirations for a home playoff match are still in the cards. LOU remains tied with MEM on points with a seven-point goal differential, keeping 901 in the last home playoff spot. Indy is on Louisville’s tail and depending on how the last two matches pan out, they could snake ahead and bump City down to 6th. LOU can prevent that by controlling what they can control, and that is their final two matches. Hartford Athletic and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Both are at home. It doesn’t get easier than Hartford. They are literally the worst team in the league. They did hold LOU to a draw earlier in the season, but that can’t happen again. This is a must-win. The TBR match is also a must-win not only for the points but also for the momentum and confidence boost it could serve for the team heading into the postseason. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but at the moment, fan confidence is justifiably low. Two big wins to wrap up the regular season could help turn things around. We will see how this last stretch of games pans out.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to do the radio call for the match. Would have preferred to have done a win, but it was still enjoyable, nonetheless!
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