Next Match: Louisville City vs Saint Louis FC - 09/12/2020
After two games on the road, Louisville City is back in the comfort of Lynn Family Stadium to take on Saint Louis FC in the second to last installment of the King's Cup. Both Lou City and Saint Louis are coming off of wins (to Indy and Sporting KC ). With the tightening race for the top two spots in Group E, both clubs will need a win. On the season, Louisville is 0-1-1 against Saint Louis. The loss occurred during the second match of the restart and City has improved since then. With the kinks worked out of the purple machine and the pressure to secure a postseason as high as ever, expect to see an exciting affair as they do battle with Saint Louis one last time at home.
Saint Louis has proven to be a worthy opponent in 2020. Although they are disbanding, the squad still has a lot to play for including performing to secure a contract with another club in 2021. They are 7th in the league for shots on target per match with 5.0, yet, they have only managed 1.5 goals per match (17th in the league). To be fair, Lou City’s attacking stats are right at that level as well. Saint Louis’ defense has been decent. They are 14th for goals conceded at 1.2 and are 9th for saves per match at 3.5. Kyle Morton deserves a lot of credit for his work this year to help keep the ball out of the net. He is tied for 4th for saves with 36. While Louisville’s Ben Lundt does not have quite the save count, he’s had the luxury of a stellar cast of players on the backline defending him. City is 5th best in the league for goals conceded with 0.9 and 4 clean sheets (6th in the league).
Players to watch on the green team include Tyler Blackwood, Kyle Greig, Russell Cicerone, and Wal Fall. The 29-year-old Englishman, Blackwood, leads Saint Louis with four goals. Greig has been a consistent performer for them bagging three goals, one assist, and a team-leading player rating of 7.09. Cicerone leads their squad with 26 shots (tied for 8th in the league) and has put the ball into the net three times. Fall has been a consistent performer. He has one goal, three assists, and an average rating of 6.96. In the previous match, Fall’s beautiful pass sliced through Lou City’s line and helped to get his squad's only goal on the night. Can’t say I wouldn’t mind Coach Hackworth and staff snagging him for next season.
At this point in the season, Louisville City knows their winning formula. The question is whether they stick to what has been working or make adjustments to throw off Saint Louis (remember Luke Spencer against Indy?). During their last matchup, Napo Matsoso was MIA from the starting eleven (he was on the bench, however). They had also rolled out Akil Watts and Jonathan Gomez over Oscar Jimenez and Pat McMahon. If it were not for the short week (back to Indy on Wednesday), I would expect the best eleven out there. We may get something more in line with the same squad featured in the last Saint Louis matchup to manage for the fixture congestion. I’ve been wanting to see Jason Johnson finally get some significant minutes but this is not exactly the type of match to experiment on. Guess we will see on Saturday.
The crew over at FiveThirtyEight has the good guys at a 50% chance to win. With the teams turn around this season, the dominant win against Indy on their turf, and the fact City is back home, I’d agree with that assessment. This is our game to lose. Group E is extremely tight and we need all of the points. Morados find themselves narrowly in second place. They would still be in first if it wasn’t for this malarkey. Despite the standings, City needs to control what they can control and focus on one game at a time. They have been known to show up when it matters. Time to do this once again!