Match Recap – OKC Energy vs Louisville City – 09/12/2021
Updated: Sep 15
Although the tough stretch of away matches continues to pile on, Louisville City has seemingly regained a little momentum lost after their previous few matches. A 4-2 win away at Hartford on short rest and on the national stage was exactly the kind of turnaround in fortune the squad needed. LouCity’s next road challenge, the OKC Energy, would see the two sides face off for a fourth and final time. The two July encounters ended in Louisville wins (07/14 and 07/31) and the most recent match a draw in Oklahoma City. With Morados looking to create a new winning streak and OKC fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central, the match had all the making for a fierce and exciting contest.
Louisville City Lineup
Coach Danny Cruz opted for several changes. The first is the formation. The 4-3-3 has been a staple of the squad but in this match, we saw the boys in purple lined up in a 3-4-1-2/3-5-2. Along with the unfamiliar look, several individuals make the starting eleven that have not had a ton of action as of late, including George Davis IV and Chris Hubbard. Josh Wynder was deployed at center back while Kyle Greig got the start with Cameron Lancaster missing from the eighteen.
After a relatively slow start to the match, as both teams settled in, at ten minutes, an unfortunate no-call occurred. A LouCity shot was hit into the extended arm of a falling Energy defender in the box. Despite the player’s pleas, the referee did not point to the spot. One would assume that the extended arm may be considered to be in a “natural position” due to falling and thus the no-call.
Morados were in control of the match but were not creating scoring opportunities. This control, however, meant little to the home team, as they were the first to a goal. At 25’, OKC put one in the back of the net off a cross through the box and tap in at the far post. A tough break for the young Josh Wydner, who ducked and allowed the cross to go through the box (he otherwise had a solid match). Although City was now down, there was still plenty of time to work with. The rest of the first half saw City continue to dictate the tempo of the match. They found a few shooting opportunities, but none were serious scoring opportunities. The Energy was doing just enough to maintain their slim lead. Luck was on the visitor's side, though. In the fifth minute of extra time (three initially announced), a high cross to the far post was headed towards goal and the captain, Paolo DelPiccolo, collided with the ball to level the scoreline right before halftime was called. Not the team’s most graceful goal of the season, but they all count the same.
The match resumed and proceeded similarly to the first half. Louisville City held the ball, looking for opportunities, and the OKC Energy was successful in limiting chances. Looking to mix things up, Coach Cruz inserted Tyler Gibson, Brian Ownby, and Antoine Hoppenot into the match for GD4, Niall McCabe, and PDP. Less than a minute later, Greig adeptly intercepted a defensive cross in the Energy’s final third and fired off a strike on goal that forced a diving save from the keeper. The stalemate continued for the remainder of the match, with the only item worth mentioning being the substitution of Akil Watts for Greig at 85’ and Abdou Thiam for Alexis Souahy at 87’ (who sustained a facial cut that needed attention). With the second half lacking an offensive spark, the match concluded as a draw, much like the previous OKCvLOU match in August.
By The Numbers
While City did hold a possession lead throughout the match, it did level off towards the end. OKC’s 45% possession and the majority of their passing occurring in their own half help to showcase the control that Louisville City held over the match. With only two on-target shots and three chances created, LouCity’s defense did fairly well, minus the opening goal. The visitors fired off 15 shots with only four on target. A less than ideal ratio given the 10 created chances.
This was not LouCity’s finest hour. The tactical and personnel changes did not yield the desired result. Few big chances were created and unfortunately, the best the squad could do is squeeze out a draw. “It’s obviously frustrating to only get a point,” said Coach Cruz. “But I was proud of the effort from the group — the mentality. We limited them to four shots, collectively, with our press, and we obviously changed our shape tonight with the field and what we knew we would see here. I thought we created enough chances to win the game.” On one hand, you can chalk this up to some of the challenges the team is facing. Away trips, Corben Bone out, Pat McMahon out, JoGo arguably not fully fit, Oscar Jimenez still getting back to full form, etc. On the other hand, this is a deep enough squad where no one should be satisfied with a draw to the Energy. LouCity is the better team and failed to showcase that. The team's hopes of winning the regular season are slipping away as Phoenix, El Paso, and Tampa Bay continue their campaigns, but the fate of the Central Division is still in their control. There are still some tough matches remaining, including two trips to Indy, and the squad needs to capitalize on every point opportunity. On to the next one.
This Saturday, 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.
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