[Deep breath]. We’re just two games in. It’s gonna be okay. Eventually. But this is a twitter, microwave, instant-gratification-type society we live in, so whether Louisville City fans need to be staring at the panic button is a real question after the last two performances (we don’t).
One thing that’s been nice is a pretty solid back four that includes two brand new guys in the team in Jonghyun Son and Kyle Smith. Sean Reynolds’ athleticism has saved a couple of chances in two games now, and he seems to be playing pretty well with the ever-steady Conor Shanosky in the middle of the defense. I also don’t have much to complain about from our defensive mids, Aodhan Quinn or Guy Abend, who did very well breaking up play against Charlotte, with middling results against New York.
The concern lies in our attack. James O’Connor has started the same lineup two weeks in a row now, and neither lineup included Enrique Montano, Kadeem Dacres, or Magnus Rasmussen. The latter two guys have an excuse. MAG RAM is still recovering from offseason surgery (HURRY BACK) and Dacres wasn’t listed in the 18-man roster last Saturday due to some kind of injury. We hope to find out more about that after today’s press conference. Those three guys were keys to our attack last season. While Bryan Burke and Matt Fondy obviously were the primary components to a lot of goals and scoring chances in 2015, Dacres was big threat one on one, Montano delivered great set-piece balls and could fly down the flanks, and Rasmussen was the team’s creative engine in the midfield.
The man starting in MAG RAM’s place in the hole, Andrew Lubahn, hasn’t provided the same kind of play in the first two games. Mark-Anthony Kaye’s provided some excitement down the left side, but he’s only put two shots on frame in 170 minutes of action. Chandler Hoffman hasn’t had much service, and has only produced one shot himself, off target. Cameron Lancaster’s been much more efficient, but O’Connor seems comfortable only using him as a late substitute in the two games so far.
Last season, Louisville City was a team that could hold the ball and create chances from the midfield. In the two games so far this season, that hasn’t been the case. Passes aren’t connecting, and there seems to be a disconnect between the attacking players when City has the ball. The team has struggled to get the ball into the attacking third of the field, and when they do, players almost seem panicky over what to do with it. I might be projecting there – I know I’m a little panicky.
It’s unclear to me what the way forward here might be. Are the starters just taking time to gel? Are the wrong guys starting? Should there be a change in the way we play, be it either via formation or tactics? Louisville City was a team last season that could possess the ball in the midfield and generate attacks almost at will. Should this group set up to be strong in defense and catch teams on the break, instead?
Whatever the answers, I hope to see them soon. City will have a good test this weekend against Orlando City B, a talented team that hasn’t looked able to put it all together yet. Hopefully some changes are made to address our attacking woes in some fashion. Surely last year’s success wasn’t just the province of two guys that now play in Jacksonville.