Next Match – Louisville City vs Atlanta United 2 – 03/12/2022
Finally, the regular season is here! Coach Danny Cruz and the boys have been hard at work during the offseason, but now it is time to put their plans and preparations to the test. To kick off Louisville City’s 2022 season, Atlanta United 2 will make the trip north to Lynn Family Stadium.
Last season, Twolanta was not great. They were 7th in the Central Division, with an 8-14-10 record and a -9 goal differential. LouCity earned two victories over the ATL United 2 (4/24 and 7/17) along with one draw (9/29) and a loss (6/6). Heading into this first match, it’s a bit difficult to know what to expect as their official roster only contains 7 players as of this writing. All 7 were part of the 2021 roster. Aiden McFadden is clearly their top player to watch. He was their leading goal scorer and a player who will probably begin to spend more time with the first team after his recent MLS debut. Robbie Mertz was another regular contributor to ATL JR. The midfielder provided a team-leading 5 assists to his squad last season. Ajani Fortune and Darwin Matheus also returning factors, however, both only started in roughly half the matches last season. Matheus was the second-leading scorer on their team and perhaps could build upon that in 2022.
With the lack of a completed roster (publically available at least) and no matches to reference back to yet this season, it’s hard to get too deep into what to expect. MLS 2 teams are generally not great as they usually lack roster stability or veteran presences. In his season preview piece, John Morrissey grouped Atlanta into his bottom tier of teams. Despite the returns of McFadden and Mertz, “this team doesn't have the roster or the discipline within that hard-pressing 4-2-3-1 to make a run.” FiveThirtyEight is siding with John on this one as they are listed as a longshot to make the playoffs with only a 32% chance. For this first match, Louisville is the clear favorite with a 63% chance to win compared to ATL’s paltry 16% chance.
This will be an interesting start to the season for City. The ATL roster is a bit of an enigma and the team has limited preseason film to review. They could be capable of surprises. To make matters worse, it was confirmed today that a lower leg injury Cameron Lancaster sustained during the last preseason match could keep him off the pitch for a while. Despite this adversity (and the suboptimal weather), fans will be in for a treat. Coach Cruz confirmed that several starting jobs are still not determined, meaning we could see any number of permutations of players. Between that and a refined style of play implemented by Coach Cruz this offseason (Dannyball), there is a lot of excitement and intrigue surrounding the start of this season. I, for one, can not wait!
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? Might I suggest The Tifos of Louisville City, Louisville City’s Pathway To The Pros, Louisville City's Preparations For The Future, What Are Expected Goals (xG)?, or What Are Goals Added (G+)?.
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.
Be sure to check out the Vamos Morados Podcast featuring me, Benton, and Zach Allen-Kelly. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Audible, and Spotify. Everything you need to listen can be found on the Podcast page. Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!