It’s obvious that Matt Fondy’s 2015 season with Louisville City FC was great, and I hate to see him go. We should all wish him the best at Jacksonville Armada. However, him leaving maybe better for Louisville City, and maybe Fondy himself, in the long run.
It is hard for a player to maintain great form over a long career. Even Messi and Rooney struggle to find the net [Editor’s Note: one more than the other, obvs]. Fondy had great form all season long and he made some phenomenal strikes for Louisville City. The forward brought a great style of attacking football to Louisville City which is what made him so exciting. He was a poacher, able to sniff out goals like a military bomb dog sniffs out bombs. But Fondy’s game wasn’t complete by any means. I believe he will continue to improve, which is what coaches love to see. I am sure James O’ Connor is happy to have helped Fondy advance his career.
There are different styles of strikers. Fondy fit the style of target man very well, but many of the best strikers are hold up strikers or poachers. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is an example of a great poacher, finding the back of the net off crosses and 2nd chances. By contrast Robert Lewandowski and Wayne Rooney are more of hold up strikers, meaning they wait for help at times when they need it or can run at defenders one on one.
Getting back to City’s 2015 MVP, how do you replace a man who scores almost at will all season long? Here’s how: bring in younger talent that may be developed into a great talent like Fondy was for Louisville City. A young team like Louisville City needs time to develop into a club that can sustain talent for a long time. We are still getting quality players back and even brought in some veterans and new talents, which is good for a club starting out. Most clubs don’t start the way Louisville City did, making the conference finals, second highest average attendance in the league, and a great supporters group *cough cough* The Coopers *cough*.
Running a soccer team is no easy task. Many fans will cling to names of talent they remember from the past or players they wish could play for their team. Fondy played like a striker all fans like, one who just scores and loves to do it. But talent leaves nearly every clubs in the world every transfer window, and there is always at least one fan who hates the move. However, players have to go where they can improve their game as a player. Fans will follow their favorite player wherever they go. Many fans hated to see Manchester United sell Javier Hernandez but he has been the best thing Bayer Leverkusen could have gotten out of the transfer window. It paid off as Hernandez instantly found form and is still scoring for them.
Matt Fondy leaving certainly leaves us without a go-to front man, but new talents like Chandler Hoffman and Paolo DelPiccolo will bring something fresh to Louisville City. Louisville City was very predicable on attack last season, with most goals coming from the strikers and crosses into the 6 yard box. Of course, the crosses will continue; that shouldn’t change, but I think with a returning midfield and new striker, we should expect players like Kadeem Dacres, Aodhan Quinn, and others to really shine in the midfield and control the game. I think Chandler Hoffman and Ilija Ilic will surprise and be a great strike pairing. Louisville City FC was a great team last year but take out Fondy, Burke, and Guzman, and they would be an average team. Unfortunately, that is what has happened this off-season so we had to pick up players and re arrange the roster. I think several players will have big years now that those 3 players have left. Look for Kadeem Dacres, Chandler Hoffman, and Magnus Rasmussen to have massive years. I think many people in the USL saw we lost three players and are thinking Louisville City FC won’t be as good as they were in the past. I beg to differ, I would expect us to still be a playoff team at the end of the year.
We have the talent and the coaching staff to turn this team into a dynasty, we just need some time to get off our feet as we are still a young team and I will not be surprised that if in 10 years people talk about us like the Rochester Rhinos just a team that wins titles. So I expect this season to bring a lot of great moments, heartbreaking losses, but ultimately another shot at a Conference Final. Fondy may be gone but we will surprise teams. Let the USL think Louisville City FC is a low level team because we will be the Leicester City of the USL. PURPLE ARMY WILL RISE UP!!!