Next Match: Louisville City vs Memphis 901 - 09/18/2020
With a playoff spot all but secured, Louisville City returns home on Saturday to take on their last non-Group E opponent of the 2020 regular season. It will be Memphis 901 taking the trip north to Lynn Family Stadium. The 901, members of Group G, have struggled and find themselves last in their group and just parted with their head coach only a few days ago. Although it sounds like this may be a walk in the park for Morados, they have not yet officially clinched the playoffs (let alone the first place spot) and must remain focused to see the season out.
Memphis has 17 goals on 144 shots for the 2020 season. These are not terrible numbers considering Lou City is at 21 goals on 196 shots. They have been averaging 4.3 shots on target per match with 1.4 goals per match (both 20th in the league). City, meanwhile, is at 4.8 shots on target per match and 1.6 goals per match (10th and 13th). While their offensive statistics do not appear all that bad, it’s the defensive component that has them left out of the playoff picture. They have allowed 25 goals putting them at a -8 goal differential. For context, City is at +11. Their average goals conceded per match of 2.1 and with one clean sheet they are near the bottom of the league. Passing and possession are not much better either. They are 27th for accurate passes per match with 269.8 and are also 27th for average possession with 47.6%. This is a squad that has a long way to go before they are a genuine threat and coming off the loss of their first head coach, it’s unlikely that rebound is going to begin Saturday against the two-time USL winners.
Looking at their squad, they do not appear to have anyone outperforming the rest. Mark Segbers has the team-high player rating at 6.85 with one goal and two assists to his name. Keanu Marsh-Brown (6.78 rating), Rafael Mentzingen (6.50 rating, one assist), Carl Jennings (6.54 rating), and Brandon Allen (6.32 rating) are all tied for first on the team with three goals each. Owner and sporting director, Tim Howard, has a lot of work ahead of him turning this team into a contender.
Looking to Louisville City’s squad, given the recent fixture congestion I would expect to see several consistent starts get a break in the action. This game is not meaningless. It is one that City needs to win, yet, it is an opportunity to give a few guys some rest and give opportunities to others all while still feeling confident with the altered starting eleven. Off-the-bench regulars such as Akil Watts, Jonathan Gomez, and Brian Ownby could likely find a place in Saturday’s lineup. I would like to see Jason Johnson start. I would not be upset if Abdou Mbacke Thiam and Jimmy Ockford made the eighteen. Despite their rough early season start, it could be time to give them more minutes. Napo Matsoso went down late in the Indy match, so this may be an opportunity to give him some time to recover and preserve him for the rest of the campaign. Although Ben Lundt’s play has been stellar, it’s time for Chris Hubbard to get another go in-between the sticks.
FiveThirtyEight has Louisville at a comfortable 68% chance to win. City is unbeaten in their last eight matches and it looks like that could be nine after Saturday. At this point in the season, it’s about finishing strong. It’s time to keep confidence high and lock up the first place spot in the group. If you’re going to the match, please wear your mask! I’d like for this virus to be gone for the start of next season. Looking forward to having Lynn Family Stadium filled!