Match Recap – Preseason Edition: Louisville City vs One Knoxville – 02/25/2023
Updated: Feb 28
Thurman-Hutchins Park played host to Louisville City’s first local friendly with (some) fans in attendance since a 2021 friendly against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. In the lead up to this match, Coach Cruz’s squad drew against Nashville SC, drew against Sporting KC, won 3-0 against Colorado Springs, drew at New Mexico United, lost 3-1 to Austin FC, and lost 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders. Despite having faced several upper-division foes, Coach Cruz’s tone has been quite optimistic, and largely pleased with their play. With the season rapidly approaching, LouCity is left with the Knoxville match and a trip up to Pittsburgh to fine-tune their play for the regular season.
LouCity came out in the tried-and-true 4-3-3 with a number of familiar faces and a few new ones. New GK signing Oliver Semmle started the match over Kyle Morton and the Dane Rasmus Thellufsen got the start in the midfield. With it still being preseason, I wouldn’t read too deeply into the lineup. Coach Cruz indicated that competition within the squad is still ongoing. With that said, this lineup featured a number of players many fans would likely expect in a regular season match.
In true Louisville City fashion, they took control of the match early and brought that action to Knoxville. At 7’, Wilson Harris put the ball into the net off a Niall McCabe freekick, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.
Not quite 15 minutes later, another set piece right outside the box ended in a Louisville goal. Matiti Mushagalusa put away a rebound off Harris’ blocked shot.
Morados continued to look dangerous with a great buildup resulting in two close Brian Ownby shots that were both blocked at 22’ followed by a blocked Thellufsen shot off an Ownby pass at 31’. Knoxville, down but not out, forced a turnover in the home team’s final third and quickly turned it into a goal. A sudden momentum shift ends in a 2-1 scoreline. That score would hold until halftime.
The 66’ saw several changes for Louisville with Oscar Jimenez, Ray Serrano, Dylan Mares, and Kyle Morton all entering the match.
Shortly after those changes, a dirty tackle on Manny Perez earned a Knoxville player a straight red. Manny would exit the match for Owen Damm. As this was a friendly, Knoxville did not go down to 10 men but continued the match with all 11. Carlos Moguel nearly extended the boys in purple’s lead with a fantastic free kick at 78’ that hit the top corner of the crossbar (video credit HangEmHigh)
Around 80’, Elijah Wynder and Tyler Gibson came on to see out the match, replacing Thellufsen and Carlos. Unfortunately, the match ended on a bit of a sour note with Knoxville finding an equalizer in the dying minutes. Another abrupt momentum shift. Final score 2-2.
Louisville largely controlled the match, but unfortunately, the visitors made the most of their few opportunities. “The ideas and executing the game plan were really good in the first half — the first 35 minutes,” said Coach Cruz. “But you can’t leave teams open to get an opportunity, and they took it. When they did that, the momentum changed.” “I certainly wasn’t happy with the response after halftime, and I’m not happy with the second goal.”
This friendly was a mixed bag for LouCity fans. Those in attendance were treated to a match that largely fits with what we’d expect. Purple controlled the tempo and kept the ball in the opposition’s half. The eye test was in Morados’ favor. They looked to be the better team. However, it only took a few moments for Knoxville to find their goals. Quick momentum changes that ended in goals. This is (for the most part) a team that has played together for years. While it is still technically preseason, most who watched the match would have expected more from this veteran squad against a lower-division opponent. It was not their best outing this preseason. Better this happens now with no points on the line. This match will give the staff some good footage to work with to help the team prepare for their final friendly against Pittsburgh and then the start of the regular season.
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Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
Meet Elijah Wynder: Louisville City FC’s Trailblazing Young Star
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