Things have been going well for the purple team as of late. Over halfway through the season, Louisville City sits atop the Central Division and has a reasonable shot at winning the regular-season crown. With that said, the latter half of this USL season is fairly away-heavy for Morados and could slow their roll. For the first time in club history, LouCity hit the road and took on OKC in their house. Although City won the previous two encounters in Lynn Family Stadium, the Energy were looking to short-circuit Louisville’s four-game win streak.
Louisville City Lineup
The 4-3-3 was once again the marching orders issued by Coach Danny Cruz. Napo Matsoso, Antoine Hoppenot, Jimmy McLaughlin, and Josh Wynder all made their returns to the starting eleven. Brian Ownby, Niall McCabe (who appears to be in Ireland based on social media posts), and Corben Bone were all conspicuously absent from the eighteen. While a few regulars were MIA, both Oscar Jimenez and Abdou Thiam’s names appeared for the first time since their lengthy injuries earlier this season.
After an initial settling into the match, it was LouCity who found the first opportunities of the match. At 14’, Hoppenot sent a cross in to Jimmy whose quick shot to the far post was pounced on by the keeper who made a great read of the play. Minutes later, in a similar sequence, Hoppenot sent the ball over to Cameron Lancaster whose sliding (falling?) kick didn’t have enough pace to make it by the defender who stood between him and the goal. The following twenty minutes was a rather stagnate affair, seeing City dominate possession but neither squad finding any real opportunities. At 39’, Wes Charpie had to come out of the match due to injury and was relieved by Akil Watts. The first half came to an end, being one of the less exciting halves of play all season.
Entering the second half, Paolo DelPiccolo relieved Jimmy on the pitch. Much of the same from the first half continued until 64’ when Jonathan Gomez went down hurt and was relieved by the newly available Oscar. Shortly thereafter, Tyler Gibson found a decent half-chance at goal from distance that required a diving deflection from the home team goalie. At 73’, Napo also had a go at the net from distance but it was gobbled up by the keeper. Alexis Souahy came on for Hoppenot at 81’ to see out one of the least exciting matches of the season.
By The Numbers
Although Louisville dominated the possession battle, it was incredibly unproductive. An uncharacteristically high percentage of their passes were in their own half and only two on target shots were registered for Morados all match. A fairly poor showing considering there were ten chances created. Thankfully, their defense held the home team to only two on-target shots and almost no scary moments.
Oscar Jimenez making his return was certainly one of the highlights of the match for LouCity fans. “It’s nice to be back out there with my teammates,” he said post-match. “They’ve been pushing me all this time. I’m just glad to get some minutes under me, because we’re in a big part of the season right now when everyone needs to be prepared to contribute.” Unfortunately, aside from the clean sheet, that’s about where the positives end. “The wind and the turf and the heat — it was certainly tough to play the style of play we’re looking for,” Coach Cruz said. The offense was uncharacteristically docile and failed to put on a performance that screams “top of the league”. To be fair, these matches happen. If it’s going to happen, it might as well be during a road match with the team in a good spot on the table. Injuries didn’t help anything either. "We’re dealing with a lot of injuries at the moment,” Coach Cruz stated. “That’s something we’re going to have to work through — picked up another couple tonight. With that being said, while we wanted to leave here with three points, in these conditions I was really, really proud of the group." While there were certainly challenges with this match, one would hope that the conversations behind closed doors were a little more critical. But again, these types of matches are bound to happen. So long as the team learns and grows from these encounters, they will be better off for it. On to the next one.
On 09/18, LouCity will be heading north to take on Indy Eleven! Tickets to the designated visitor’s supporters section (208) can be obtained here. Let’s show the boys some support on the road!
Please note there will not be any team-organized transportation due to the ‘rona.
If you’re looking to expand your purple wardrobe, Vamos Morados shirts are available!