by Taylor Sorrels (@taylorsorrels)
Today, Louisville City FC travels north up I-71 then east-ish through the wasteland that is Ohio to the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I went to college with a bunch of guys from Pittsburgh, and for some reason they all moved back there once they were done with school. Protip: Never live in Pittsburgh. It’s cold, it’s generally gray, the food is engineered to give you a coronary by age 34, and it is a city obsessed with Steelers football. Ugh.
Going into this game, Louisville City is obviously on a run of results and an unbeaten streak to start their season. They’re also developing a tendency to play well in the first half and then either letting down in the second, or failing to react to the opposition’s halftime adjustments. Rochester and Richmond are cities that start with R and have teams that scored on LCFC in the second half to take points away from the purple and gold when 3 points were possible.
The good news for Elsie is that their next opponent is Pittsburgh. Sitting at seventh in the East through three games, the Riverhounds have a 1-1-1 record with seven goals for and five against. Five of those goals came in a slaughter of the hapless Harrisburg City Islanders for the Hounds first game of the season. This will be Pittsburgh’s third home game at Highmark Stadium already, the previous two games being a win and a loss. Their last time out was a draw at St. Louis, but since we all know how easy it is to beat STLOL, we shouldn’t be that impressed.
The Riverhounds return two solid attacking players in Kevin Kerr (3 goals this season) and Rob Vincent, along with DM Danny Earls. Thus far they like to bypass the midfield with long balls over the top to Kerr and Vincent, so Connor Shanosky and Tarek Morad are going to need to do well on aerials today. The preferred Pittsburgh formation to this point is a 4-5-1, with Danny Earls sitting in front of the defensive four and the other four mids playing in front of him. Per Kyle Heizler at Reckless Challenge:
Pittsburgh is a team with very skillful attacking players and to try to maximize their impact on the game, Pittsburgh rushes forward into attack. They don’t rush forward in numbers through counter attacking football. They don’t tiki-taka the ball all over the park to slowly tilt the field in their favor. They launch countless, and sometimes aimless, long balls towards wingers and forwards, who must either, outrun their opponent or win a 50/50 challenge in the air to maintain possession and produce a threat. This style of attack seems more attune to a middle school PE class attitude then the attitude of professionals.
Sounds encouraging, right? Unfortunately, Louisville City has their own mess to clean up. They’ve struggled to put two halves together lately, letting their frustrations get the better of them in the second half of the last two games and conceding both times when they probably deserved to win. When City gets control of the ball in midfield, they need to keep it and let Fondy go to work on what seems to be a shaky Pittsburgh back line. They can’t get caught out on long ball counters, and they’ve got to maintain focus for the full 90 this time if they want to be sure to bag 3 points.
I’m just an idiot with a WordPress account, though, so surely James O’Connor knows more about all that stuff than I do. Please join the Coopers at Against the Grain this afternoon at 3 to watch the game, or check this link for the live YouTube broadcast.COME ON CITY!