It all comes down to this. Louisville City had a spectacular year and thrilling wins over Pittsburgh and the Tampa Bay Rowdies to make it to the 2022 USL Final. The match will be on the road as San Antonio FC made it out of the West after beating the Oakland Roots and Colorado Springs Switchbacks. First in the East versus first in the West. No upsets in the playoffs leading us to wonder “what if” regarding as SAvLOU matchup. Fans of the league will have an opportunity to see the league’s true best square off in less than a week.
San Antonio is a fascinating team. They have found a way to be good with statistics that vary from their other peers at the top of the table. While defensively excellent (1st in the league and the most clean sheets per FotMob) they are down in 7th for goals per match. While still great, it’s below average when compared to the rest of the playoff field. Their expected points are also below average (from those in the playoffs) and they score at a rate higher than the xG model predicted (“lucky”). They break the model and upend the “Good-Lucky” Matrix. Don’t let that chart make you underestimate them! It’s easy to assume that there is a correlation between possession and winning, but that isn’t the case and they are a perfect example of that. They are 27th in possession! It’s a very different style from the likes of LouCity, TBR, San Diego, etc. They are somewhat of an enigma that many teams failed to fully figure out. Louisville will have a shot to crack the code with a trophy on the line.
Like Louisville City, I could go on for a while about all the talent they have. For the sake of brevity, we’ll highlight Mitchell Taintor, Connor Maloney, and Justin Dhillon. Taintor had his team’s 3rd highest player rating along with earning USL 1st Team and winning Defensive Player of the Year. Given it wasn’t exactly controversial for him to be in those constatations let alone winning those honors speaks for itself. He (and PC) were huge in SA’s defensive dominance. Maloney has 4 assists, the 3rd most chances created, and the team’s 2nd highest player rating. He has been a key midfield piece to the SA puzzle. Dhillon has T-3rd most goals, the most assists, and the most big chance created. A forward who can do both with equal success. It’s also worth mentioning Goalkeeper of the Year, Jordan Farr. The former Indy man has had a stellar season and only narrowly lost the Golden Glove to LouCity’s Kyle Morton.
So, what are the odds that LouCity gets their third star? 40% according to FiveThirtyEight. They are giving the regular season champs and home team a narrow edge. Don’t let this dampen your confidence in Morados. Matches these close are a virtual toss-up. It will come down to a solid game plan from Louisville to break the SA defense and for the players to be playing to their best ability. San Diego and Sacramento did it and we beat both of them! Heck, even Phoenix (who missed the playoffs) beat them TWICE (04/02, 05/07)! One more match in the 2022 season and it’s set to be a memorable one. Safe travels to everyone making the trip to Texas. I’ll cya down there! VAMOS MORADOS!