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Heat Check: How’s the Offense?

We asked, rhetorically, about how Louisville City was going to score goals ahead of the season. We thought we had an answer; now we’re not so sure. Here’s Andrew Oost with an update:
Louisville City continued a problematic offensive trend on Wednesday night against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in the US Open Cup. The team came out focused and sharp in the first half, but several promising scoring opportunities amounted to nothing. A scrappy FCC goal a few minutes into the second half proved fatal to City’s hopes of victory.
It could be argued that Louisville City actually got worse after giving up the goal. The team seemed lacking in ideas, and were not able to adapt after Cincinnati bunkered in after the goal. Playing from behind has never been our strong suit, but this year it seems particularly troublesome.
Even after the insertion of pacy playmakers Kaye and Ballard, LouCity looked lost and without creative attacking ideas. The team had a few chances created by playing the ball out wide, but it seemed every cross found a puzzling lack of eager attackers.
The lack of clinical finishing, or even chance creation, in the final third of the field is morphing into a borderline crisis for this team. Whether the problem is a lack of personnel, or a tactical fault, is up for debate.
What is not disputable is that Louisville has 8 goals through 9 games against professional competition this season, if you include the Wednesday night Open Cup debacle. Even more worrisome is that the team seems to always look better in the first half than the second half of games.
Whether the blame for the second half malaise in games lies with Coach O’Connor’s tactics, or the performance of the players, the inescapable truth is that the problem needs to be sorted out soon. Louisville City is entering a gauntlet of tough games in quick succession the next few weeks, and no defense will be daunted by the challenge of facing LouCity at this point.
On a positive note, the defense continued to look solid, apart from the somewhat fluky FCC goal. Greg looked good in his return to the net, although goalkeeper is hardly the position we are looking for help at in this moment.
I’m a bit at a loss for solutions after this latest performance. I like our players on an individual level, but something doesn’t seem to be clicking. My gut instinct says to try our more pacy and dynamic players, such as Ballard and Ownby, in more forward attacking positions.
I would also like to see O’Connor be more flexible in his tactics after it becomes apparent that his favored attacking style is not providing results. I love that his preferred approach is the possession based, short passing game. However, there are times where more direct, route one tactics are appropriate, especially when we are trailing in the last 20 minutes of games.
It’s not time to panic yet, but there is certainly cause for concern. Regardless, I am expecting the team to bounce back strong on Saturday against Charleston and put at least two goals away. If there is any thing that we have learned over the past two seasons, it is not to doubt Coach O’Connor too much. His results over the first two seasons speak for themselves.