Next Match – Memphis 901 vs Louisville City – 07/16/2022
Louisville City’s dominant win over NY Red Bulls 2 served as a confidence booster heading into a much tougher matchup. Memphis 901 wasn’t a team people looked out for on the schedule, but this season they have caught the attention of the league. Memphis made it into the playoffs last season, occupying 3rd of the four who made it from the Central Division, but they made a quick exit at the hands of the Independence (who Louisville later beat). Currently, they sit a mere point behind City in the Eastern Conference and are a serious contender (T-4th highest chance to make the finals per FiveThirtyEight). LouCity may lead the series between the two 5-1-1 but this is a different Memphis they have yet to face.
Unlike the Baby Bulls, Memphis is statistically stellar. Their attack? Lethal. They are 3rd for shots on target per match (5.4), they’ve created the 3rd most big chances (40), and have scored the 6th most goals per match (1.9). Their defense isn’t half bad either. They own the 8th most clean sheets (6) and the 4th fewest goals conceded per match (0.9). All of these rankings closely mirror Louisville’s.
Who would have thought they’d be here after losing Kyle Murphy and Mark Segbers? While they may be gone, a handful of players have stepped up in their place, including Phillip Goodrum, Jeremy Kelly, Aaron Molloy, and Laurent Kissiedou. Memphis rescued Goodrum from ATL2, where he saw limited action in 2021 and he has flourished. He is their top goal scorer with 10 (at the best rate of 0.65 goals per 90) and puts the most shots on target per match (1.6). Kelly had previously spent time with MLS’ Colorado Rapids and the Western Conference’s Phoenix Rising before coming to Memphis where, like Goodrum, he has flourished. He is tied for the 3rd most goals (4) but leads the squad in assists with 7. He boasts the most big chances created on his team with 5 and owns the 2nd highest player rating (7.69). Molloy is someone who’s made the leap from League One to the Championship, but that elevation in competition hasn’t hindered him at all. He has 4 goals (T-3rd) and 5 assists (2nd) and creates the most chances (31 total) with a team-high accurate passes per 90 (42.7). All of this has contributed to his astounding player rating of 8.03. Last, but not least, is Kissiedou, who remained with the Memphis project from 2021. He has bagged 5 goals (2nd) and 4 assists (3rd) with the 2nd most shots on target per 90 (1.2). He owns the 3rd highest player rating (7.66) and can do as much damage as anyone else listed here.
The sea of numbers above can be distilled down to the fact that Memphis 901 deserves a tremendous amount of respect and will be a huge test for LouCity. Morados is heading to their house, a baseball stadium. Those smaller pitches can sometimes be a problem for the squad who’s become accustomed to one of the larger pitches around. However, LouCity has been given a 42% chance to win by FiveThirtyEight, trumping Memphis’ 32% chance. It will probably be stressful viewing for both LouCity fans and 901 fans, as the final scoreline should be very close. I’ve got faith in City that they can come back home with all three points!
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!