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  • Writer's pictureBenton

Match Recap – Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Louisville City – 06/19/2024

Photo Credit: Ed Thompson

Following Louisville City’s second loss, the boys in purple were off to Highmark Stadium for a midweek affair with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Despite PIT’s uncharacteristically poor table positioning, Bob Lilley’s Riverhounds always pose a threat. However, despite the fact Highmark has been a challenging place for USL team’s to play at, LouCity has never lost at the venue. Coach Danny Cruz and his squad saw to it that the points continued to come Louisville’s way in Pittsburgh.

By most measures, it was an even meeting between the Eastern Conference foes. Possession, shots, and even expected goals (xG) were all close. In fact, there is an argument to be made that perhaps the home team had the edge. American Soccer Analyst’s expected points (xPts) suggests as much with the Riverhounds amassing 1.67 xPts to LouCity’s 1.04. Thankfully, the games outcomes are determined by goals scored. In that one stat that matters most, Louisville prevailed.

Jansen Wilson’s 3rd goal early in the 2nd half gave his side the all important lead with a 76’ double-yellow red card, making it a tall order for the Riverhounds to claw back into the match. “We’re really, really proud of the execution of the game plan,” said Coach Danny Cruz. “It’s not pretty when we come here. We have to change a little bit about how we play. I was proud of the resolve from the group.” If one was to nit-pick at LouCity’s performances this season, their showings on the road has become the first talking point. It’s not that they have been bad, more so they have not replicated their wild home performances. Venues like Highmark are smaller than Lynn Family Stadium and have less-than-ideal surfaces. These are not excuses, but rather obstacles that the squad has to navigate. And like they did in this match, they have often got the job done. Just haven’t found a nice four to five goal win yet. As long as the team keeps winning, I will not concern myself with the magnitude of victory. A 5-0 win is worth the same 3 points on the table as a 1-0 win. So long as the team is continuing to grow and keep themselves in a mental state to find a win regardless of the venue, I’ll rest easy.

Three points on short rest and away from home sure is a great pallet cleanser from the loss at Tampa by way of a late goal. “It’s massive,” Coach Cruz said of a rebounding win. “I think that’s one of the biggest things we spoke about over the last few days — making sure we see a response from the group. I talked about, after the Tampa game, that I thought the second half the players left everything on the field. We were obviously disappointed with the result, but good teams find a way to make sure they respond the right way.” Look, the team was bound to suffer another loss in the long regular season. And as much as it stings being at Tampa and the way it transpired, its one of the more understandable losses you can incur. Making the trek up to PIT just a few days later and grinding out a win helps everyone to move on from the loss that ultimately is just a blip on the radar. To paraphrase Bill Belchick after a shocking Patriots loss, “On to Birmingham.”

Parting Thoughts

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