An improved midfield was LouCity’s key to grinding out a victory against 3rd place Charleston Battery. Despite being short three players, Kaye and Williams to international duty, and Smith, serving his 3rd and final suspension game, our midfield proved effective at distributing the ball to the sides and forward, as opposed to backwards. Morad was a predictable sub, but played well enough to help preserve the victory.
Beyond that, there isn’t much to say about the game. No player, other than Ownby and Jimenez, had a lasting impact on me. Everyone else did their part. But that is the kind of team that LouCity is. If every player performed to their expectations, the game wouldn’t be super exciting, but it would be a victory. LouCity is 3rd in the league in points-per-game(1.6.) If LouCity plays their game, they will win most of the time.
Ok, let’s go.
- Oscar Jimenez(A)
- Luke Spencer(A)
- Naill McCabe(A)
- Brian Ownby(A)
- Sean Reynolds(A)
- Paco Craig(B)
- Greg Ranjitsingh(B)
- Speedy Williams(DNP)
- Mark-Anthony Kaye(DNP)
- Sean Totsch(B)
- Ilia Ilic(B)
- George Davis IV(B)
- Richard Ballard(B)
- Guy Abend(C)
- Paolo DelPiccolo(C)
- Cameron Lancaster(DNP)
- Tarek Morad(C)
- Kyle Smith(DNP)
Jimenez is our all-round best player. He’s 1st in the league in chances created(56) and crosses(180.) The only argument against Jimenez I’ll consider is Williams. Williams, when he plays, is the best player on the team, but Abend and DelPiccolo seem to have a stranglehold on the bulk of the starts. Overall, Jimenez has had the largest impact of any of the new faces.
New names in the A-tier include Craig and Ranjitsignh. Craig started in place of Morad, and played the position better in my opinion. Craig didn’t get exploited as much as Morad did in the Orlando game. My one criticism for Craig was that, twice, he tried to get the ball down to Davis, and his pass was read, and intercepted by Maikel Chang. Morad came on as a sub for Davis at 85′. The idea was a defensive sub by O’Connor in effort to hold on to our lead. Morad performed exactly how he should’ve.
Ranjitsignh only needed to make two saves, but he held on to a solid clean sheet, despite losing the previous week. It’s starting to appear that Ranjitsingh has moved beyond the troubles he had after his return from injury, but I’ll reserve judgement pending a few more games.
Two new B-Tier players this week. The midfield duo that I held mostly responsible for the loss to Orlando performed much better this week. Their defense wasn’t the issue against Orlando, and wasn’t against Charleston. Both Abend and DelPiccolo were more aggressive this week though. Charleston seemed ineffectual when attacking up the middle, which was our problem last week. This week however, Abend and DelPiccolo played in a manner that let us push play higher up the field.
Davis is suffering in the Smith’s position. He’s a warm body and without both Smith and Jimenez on the wings, LouCity’s attack looks lopsided. Jimenez effectively linked up with Totsch and Ownby to push the ball of the right side. Davis, on the other hand, would cut inside and try to move the ball upfield by getting it to McCabe, Ownby, or Ilic. This tactic doesn’t fit our style.
Tarek Morad will stay in the C-tier another week. His nine minutes of play after coming on as a 4th defender did little to forgive his lapse in concentration against Orlando.
Kyle Smith comes off suspension for their next game. I’m interested in seeing how Smith rebounds from this. Hopefully, back at full strength, LouCity’s attack will be emboldened for these last eight games.
It’s unlikely we finish as the regular season champs. Real Monarchs SLC have 7 games left and are sitting on 55 points, whereas we have 8 games left and are only at 47. But if we can keep a solid run of form on offense, and our stifling defense continues to hold, home field advantage in the Eastern Conference Playoffs is well within our grasp.
Next week is Pittsburgh. It should be a solid 3 points, provided we look at this game like we did the 2nd Harrisburg game, and not the 1st Harrisburg game.
Interesting tidbit: Our point maximum for the remainder of the season is 71. For SLC, it’s 78. If they drop 8 points, and we go on an 8 game win streak, we can take the regular season championship.