Next Match – Louisville City vs Tampa Bay Rowdies – 08/13/2022
It’s hard to overemphasize the magnitude of Louisville City’s next match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Not only are LouCity and the Rowdies number one and two in the East (49 points in 22 matches and 48 points in 23 matches) but the boys in purple have not registered a win against them since the 2019 playoffs. Since then, they have knocked Morados out of the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021, as well as handing them a rare 2022 defeat. Now, back in the confines of Lynn Family Stadium, can Coach Cruz and the gang earn a huge win for both the table standings and morale?
If you have been paying attention to this USL season, it’s not a shock that the Rowdies are good, and their statistics back that up. In fact, they are about as equal of a peer to LouCity as there can be. They have scored 2.1 goals per match (2nd) with 5.7 shots on target per match (2nd) and 55 big chances created (1st). The Rowdies conceded one goal per match on average (6th) and have earned 6 clean sheets (9th). Looking at the below stats, only razor-thin margins separate the few in nearly every category.
Like LouCity, they have many quality players worthy of attention. Here, we will just focus on three; Leo Fernandes, Jake LaCava, and Lewis Hilton. The veteran Brazilian Fernandes has scored 12 goals and 5 assists (both team highs) in his 22 appearances. He also leads in big chances created (16) and player rating (7.76). LeCava, a young NYRB 2 product, trails Fernandes with 10 goals and three assists to his name. Hilton’s four assists, 43 chances created (1st), and eight big chances created (2nd) have earned him the second highest player rating at 7.57. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Laurence Wyke and Conner Antley, who are top contributors in a number of possession and defensive-related statistics.
With the head-to-head record tied at four wins apiece all time, who is expected to have the edge in this latest encounter? According to FiveThirtyEight, Louisville City has a 43% chance to win, with the visiting Rowdies given a 30% chance. Both teams have had plenty of opportunities to learn and grow since their last match. Has LouCity learned the necessary lesson from their last match against one another to secure the win this time? The Front Office isn’t taking any chances and has pushed the Fill The Fam initiative to help give Coach Cruz’s squad as much of a home-field advantage as possible. With several ticket sales, giveaways, and beer offers, expect a record crowd. It will be the debut of Louisville’s third kit, so they have called for a “blackout” to add that extra edge to the atmosphere. It has all the making of a special match.
Be sure to check out my assessment of LouCity's performance the first half of the season (How's It Going Pt. 2) as well as my feature on Josh Wynder!
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following:
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!