Coming off a statement win against the then 2nd place Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Louisville City is hitting the road for what is very likely the FINAL match against Atlanta United 2 in USL play. ATL2 was the first opponent in the regular season (which ended as a LouCity win) and is the first team that City will face for a second time. Although they haven’t exactly been a top team this season (more on that below), they did give Louisville one of their more painful losses in 2021 and shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially for the short rest LouCity is on. Will City keep the unbeaten streak alive or will a MLS 2 team ruin the fun?
As mentioned above; Atlanta is bad. They currently sit in 11th out of 14 teams in the East and FiveThirtyEight has them finishing the season comfortably outside of the playoff picture in second to last. They are coming off a 4-0 thrashing to Pittsburgh on 05/23, so they have had plenty of time to look in the mirror and figure out how to turn things around. Their stats mostly are what you’d expect given their placement on the table; 22nd on goals for, 26th for goals against, 26th for shots on target, 24th for possession won in the final third, etc. You get the picture. Their only positive stat is that they are 6th for possession, but that does not correlate to winning, so that alone doesn’t help their cause all that much.
As far as individual talent goes, it’s limited. These MLS 2 teams often have a bunch of young talented kids but lack the experience and cohesion of the non-MLS 2 sides. Jackson Conway, who has seen time with the senior team in MLS, leads his team with four goals and 1.4 shots on target per match. Jonatan Villal has a team-leading two assists. And finally, you have Robbie Mertz who only has one assist but has created the second most chances on the team (10 to Villal’s 11) and the most big chances (two). I’d be remiss if I did not mention Aiden McFadden after his stellar turnout last year. However, he hasn’t been a huge factor on paper in 2022.
A lot of reasons to be cautiously optimistic for Wednesday’s match. FiveThirtyEight has given Louisville City a whopping 61% chance to walk into the opposition’s home and take all three points. If LouCity can play their game despite the lack of rest, they have a solid shot. However, any team can play spoiler during any match. Even an underwhelming Atlanta United Jr.
Have a friend just getting into LouCity soccer? Be sure to send them the Introduction To Louisville City link to give them a point of reference to learn about the club and league.