Next Match – Louisville City vs Charlotte Independence – 11/13/2021 – 2021 Playoffs
Round one is in the books and Louisville City bested The Miami FC, AKA LouCity South. While Miami was not exactly a walk in the park, this next match should be an even closer affair. The Charlotte Independence will come to town to serve as LouCity’s round two opposition after their 3-1 win against Memphis 901. While the Independence has had numerous off-the-pitch issues, such as a highly problematic owner and timely employee payments, they have been rather successful on the pitch. Charlotte is all that stands between Louisville and yet another Eastern Conference Finals. Will they be the ones to end the streak or yet another victim?
To put it bluntly, the Charlotte Independence is a great squad. Second only to the might Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Atlantic Division, the Independence amassed an 18-5-9 record with a +21 goal differential. Very comparable to LouCity’s 18-7-7 record and +24 GD. They are offensively imposing; 7th for big chances created, 8th for shots on target, and 4th for goals. Defensively, they have responsible allowing the 5th fewest goals per match and only one conceded penalty. They are about as close as you can get to LouCity when reviewing their success this season.
Like Louisville City, this Charlotte team is full of talented players. Their goals and assists come from a number of contributors. Three players deserving particular focus are Dane Kelly, Enzo Martínez, and Christian Fuchs. Kelly is a USL legend and goal-scoring machine. He leads his team with 11 goals and an average of 1.3 shots on target per match. Martínez, another long-time USLK player, is the kind of guy you hate when he isn’t on your team. He leads his team in assists and has the 2nd highest player rating at 7.44. If you closely follow the English Premier League, Fuchs is a name that may ring a bell. He was on the 2015 EPL-winning Leicester City team. While he is no longer in his prime, he brings his team an incredibly knowledgeable veteran presence on the backline along with the 3rd highest player rating, the most accurate passes per match, and the most successful tackles per match.
Despite the immense talent of this Independence team, FiveThirtyEight is still favoring the home team. Charlotte’s a very attack-minded team and will be a test for the LouCity defense. Their unusual 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 shape will try to keep the pressure on City, however speedy counters leveraging the speed of Jonathan Gomez or Brian Ownby could create some opportunities. These teams have not faced off since 2019, so it will be a unique match for both parties. Home field will be a big help for Morados. Not only will the pitch size aid them in this battle, but the large purple crowd as well. Make sure you don’t miss out on attending this match. It has all the making of a classic.
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