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  • Writer's pictureBenton

Next Match: Saint Louis FC vs Louisville City - 09/26/2020

The day is finally here. Tomorrow, Lou City takes on regional frenemies, Saint Louis FC, one last time. This will be Morados’s final trip to STL for a Kings’ Cup encounter, as Saint Louis FC is folding at the end of the season because of the imminent arrival of a new MLS franchise in the city. Rivalries like these are special to both the fans and the players, and they will be missed. The fact that this will be the last clash adds a bit of an extra incentive to the match. City has clinched the playoffs, but they have not officially secured first place yet. While it seems inevitable, a win would help in securing it. Saint Louis, meanwhile, is fighting for their playoff lives. They need ever point they can along with Indy choking to see their first playoff appearance.

On paper, Saint Louis is an average squad. They are 15th in the league for total shots and 14th for shots on target. They are 18th for goals scored however, aside from a few of the top clubs, everyone’s total is fairly close. Even their big chance created count is a simple mid-table 16th place. On the defensive side of things, they concede an average of 1.4 goals a match with only three clean sheets. Kyle Morton has been kept busy in net all season with an average of 3.7 saves per match (7th in the league). Passing and possession are also both mediocre, with the squad coming in at 18th for accurate passes per match and 23rd for possession. Although we thumped them 3-0 at the last encounter at Lynn Family Stadium, they hold us to a tight 1-1 draw on their home turf. That match they were, the ones maintains possession and racking up shots. It was uncharacteristic to have another team bring it to Louisville City like that. I bring this up that since they are playing for their playoff lives (and a job for next season), there is no reason they couldn’t come out and play the match of their lives. City can’t take the matchup lightly, not that Coach Hackworth would let them anyway.

Looking at their lineup, they will enter the match at a bit of a disadvantage. Not only did they just play on Wednesday against Indy Eleven, but they also had two players receive red cards. Todd Wharton and Sam Fink will be unavailable because of these bookings. The likes of Russell Cicerone, Tyler Blackwood, Kyle Greig, and Wal Fall will need to step up in a major way. Russell Cicerone and Tyler Blackwood have led their goal-scoring efforts with five apiece. Cicerone is 11th in the league for shots on targets per match with 1.2. Kyle Greig is not too far off of Cicerone and Blackwood for goals with three to his name. Wal Fall owns the team’s second-most assists with three only behind Wharton with four.

With Louisville City having had time to rest, it’s not impossible to think that Coach Hackworth might roll out the best eleven to keep them fresh and in form for the playoffs. There was some rotation last match which may have been mostly caused due to the fixture congestion of having had a match a few days prior. I’ve been wanting to see Jason Johnson and Chris Hubbard get some playing time, but since first in the group has not yet been clinched, that appears to be more likely for the last regular season match rather than this one.

Good ol FiveThirtyEight is giving the purple team a 42% chance for victory, with Saint Louis having a 31% chance. Given our form, it’s closer than I would have expected. I’m feeling very confident with the team right now and have a hard time seeing them lose so long as they are remaining focused and not downplaying Saint Louis. Now would be a bad time for the momentum to slow down, and Saint Louis will look to do exactly that to keep themselves alive. Each team has one win against the other which means the winner gets the Kings’ Cup. Forever. Time to bag a win and take the cup home to Louisville this week. Vamos Morados!

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