Next Match – Louisville City vs Atlanta United 2 – 07/17/2021
While the win against the Energy was certainly needed and welcomed, the focus must be shifted to the next opponent. With only a few days between matches, it’s back to action against Atlanta United 2. The previous ATL match was LouCity’s worst match of the season and one of their lowest points. Saturday they will look to set the record straight.
Atlanta has performed well this season given their age, coaching changes, and general lack of player continuity that most MLS 2 sides experience. They are 5th in the Central Division and only one point behind Indy Eleven. FiveThirtyEight only has them at a 7% chance at making the playoffs (behind Memphis and OKC) but I wouldn’t be shocked if they make it competitive for the fourth and final spot in the postseason from the division. They have seen success on the offensive side of things, scoring 17 total goals (tied 10th) but haven’t been as defensively sound as they might have liked to be (16 conceded, tied for 12th). Their young stud goalkeeper, Rocco Ríos Novo, is only 19 and will continue to grow and improve (not that these conceded goals are all his fault in the first place).
Much like the last time LouCity faced ATL2, Aiden McFadden, Chris Allan, and Fernando Benítez are their players to watch. McFadden, only 22 years old, has been one of the top players in the entire league. Don’t expect him to hang around in the USL too long. To be blunt, he has been one of the primary factors for Atlanta United 2’s success. He has scored five goals (tied 11th) and has a team-high average player rating of 7.38. Much like the Indy Eleven and Tyler Pasher relationship from last season, shut him down, and your odds of winning increase dramatically. The English midfielder, Allan, has also been a noteworthy contributor. He only has one goal to his name, but he has the 8th most passes in the league (654) averaging 48.3 accurate passes a match (2nd on the team). He has averaged a player rating of 7.07 (3rd on the team) and has been a pivotal piece in their midfield. And finally, you have the attacking threat, Benítez. While he is no McFadden, he has scored two goals while adding one key pass per match.
Louisville enters the contest with a whopping 69% chance to win (per FiveThirtyEight). This squad is wiser and more efficient since the last time they faced Atlanta. Being back at home should help their odds as well. With the rotations utilized in the last match, Louisville should not be without many of their key players. I smell a win, but we can’t rule out McFadden and the gang. Cya all on Saturday!
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