Next Match: LIPAFC - Indy Eleven vs Louisville City - 09/16/2020
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Louisville City is loading up the bus and hitting the road again for the fourth and final regular-season installment of the Louisville Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest of 2020. While both squads seem poised for a postseason spot, there is still plenty to play for in the rest of the regular season. Neither team has punched their ticket yet, and the difference between first in the group and second will determine their Group F opponent. The second seed in Group E will play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, while the first seed will probably play Hartford Athletic. On paper, Pittsburgh appears to be the scarier opponent, so both Lou City and Indy will work to lock up a match with Hartford. After getting embarrassed 3-1 in Lucas Oil during the last encounter, Indy Eleven will be eager for a little revenge.
Don’t let City’s previous two wins over Indy Eleven fool you into thinking they are mediocre. They are still a very good squad with a lot of talent. Despite the average goal count (tied for 15th with 18), they are an offensive threat. They are third in the league on shots on target per match with 5.3 and are tied for seventh for shots with 169. They have also managed third for big chances created with 26. Indy is no slouch on defense either. Indy is seventh in the league for goals conceded per match at 1.0 and is 12th for clean sheets with three. Their possession and passing have also been noteworthy. The Eleven are ninth for possession at 52.2% and are sixth on accurate passes per match at 365.7. Considering the level of competition in Group E, these are all commendable statistics.
Now let’s look at the pieces that make this engine operate. Tyler Pasher is threat number one. Pasher has racked up nine goals (fourth in the league), one assist, and a fantastic player rating of 7.39. He has been a pivotal component of Indy’s success. Aiding Pasher in his phenomenal season is Andrew Carleton, who’s got three assists to his name. Neveal Hackshaw has been contributing to his squad’s side with 52.1 accurate passes per match (seventh in the league), one goal, and a player rating of 6.96. Carl Haworth’s one goal, two assists, and a 7.16 player rating also warrant attention. There is a lot of skill with Lou City’s neighbor to the north.
For as good as they are, Louisville City has been better, and that is reflected in the standings and head-to-head encounters. The first 2020 LIPAFC was a draw, but the next two were all Louisville. This final regular-season matchup will be another tactical chess match for Coach Hackworth. They played many of the regulars on Saturday and there is another match waiting for the team at the end of the week. By this point in the season, we know who our players are and what they can do. Is there personnel change to manage for the tight schedule? Or does the team have enough fitness to endure the fixture congestion? Hackworth has thrown some trickery Indy’s way so don’t rule out seeing some unconventional changes. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches this midweek match.
FiveThirtyEight thinks City is the underdog again, giving Indy a 40% chance to win to Lou City’s 31%. Yes, it should be a close contest, but I am confident in the squad’s ability to go out and perform under pressure. Louisville City is unbeaten in seven, and that includes the previous three LIPAFCs. I see no reason that will change on Wednesday. As previously mentioned, Group E is tight and there is still a lot at stake. A win sees Louisville keep first with four points of breathing room. A loss drops Morados two points shy of Indy. If they can keep doing what they have been doing, Lou City will be one step closer to another postseason. If you are making the trek up to Indy, be safe and for heaven’s sake, wear your mask! Vamos Morados!