Jason Ence is off raising money for cancer research tonight, so it falls to me to write the game recap. Sorry! If I were Jason, I’d point out to you a variety of plays and bright spots from Louisville City in this game, be kind of snarky about plays that didn’t go our way, and bemoan the penalty call that was the deciding factor of the game.
But I’m not Jason.
We lost. For the third time in six matches. We didn’t score a goal. We gave up a penalty that is pretty much unassailable. The sinking line graph of our season’s trajectory sunk some more.
O’Connor started his usual 4-2-3-1 again in this game. It is becoming clear that the formation and tactic we’ve been using since the team started isn’t suited for the squad we have. When Matt Fondy, Magnus Rasmussen, and Juan Guzman were in the team, sure, that works great. But this team doesn’t have a destroyer holding midfielder anymore. MAG RAM barely plays, despite being the team’s only actual central attacking midfielder. Chandler Hoffman is talented, but he’s not going to stand up a Red Bulls central defender and win a ball with his back to goal. (He sure tried). But rather than change how we play to fit the team we have now, we keep trying to jam square pegs into round holes.
All that said, the first half was a pretty good one from a Louisville City perspective. Kadeem Dacres, who started on the right, had some good interplay with Kyle Smith and created a couple scoring chances in the first. Hoffman had a goal that was called back for offsides. When New York had the ball, City flattened to a straight bucket to prevent New York from exploiting us in wide areas. Craig and Reynolds both had very good games overall. Things were looking up!
Both teams traded attacking spells and possession. While New York might have had a slight upper hand, City had the better chances. But there were signs. Lancaster, who started in the hole, might have touched the ball six times in the first half. That’s not what you want from the guy who’s supposed to be running the offense.
In the second half, New York flipped their fullbacks and midfielders to bottle up Dacres, which spelled doom for any chance City had to score. Quinn and others tried to get Hoffman onto some through balls, but New York clogged up passing lanes, and some of those passes were from midfield, anyway. The Junior Red Bulls won a penalty when Aodhan Quinn fouled Junior Flemmings just inside the 18. The Video Assistant Referee confirmed the call, and Brandon Allen cooly scored the penalty kick.
That was it. City desperately tried to equalize, but New York dribbled out the clock. There might have been a missed handball in the box in stoppage time, but if you’re basing your offense around penalty kicks, you’re doing it wrong.
So now here we sit. In second place. Very little chance of making first again. Cincinnati is on our heels. CINCINNATI.
There are five games left in the season. Playoffs are still probably still happening for this team, but some things need to change, and in short order. There needs to be a shift in the way this team attacks. I don’t claim to know what that is, but it’s clear what we’re doing doesn’t work anymore. Let’s fix it, and let’s end the season on a high note.