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Preseason Prematch Preview: University of Kentucky

Tonight at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Louisville City will take on the Kentucky Wildcats in their third of four preseason matches. It’ll be something of a homecoming for Kyle Smith, one of City’s newest signees, who most recently played college ball at Transylvania just up the road.

This game, like all preseason games, is another opportunity for James O’Connor to see what kind of squad he’s got going into the regular season opener against Charlotte in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS OMGOMGOMG. In the game against Louisville, we saw Team Purple come out in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation but, despite lots of chances, the squad wasn’t able to do as much scoring as they might have liked.

I think we might expect something similar tonight in Lexington, though the personnel may change some. Expect a lot of squad rotation as there are unlimited subs in these games, and maybe even some formation changes. It’s not a cause for concern yet, but I for one would like for a forward to score a goal from the run of play, as we haven’t seen that yet this preseason. I’m happy for Conor Shanosky and Tarek Morad, but we’re not Rochester, and we’re not going to be depending on our tall guys to bang in set piece goals all season long and then smothering the opposition to death for the rest of the game.

At least I hope not.

On the other side of the field, the Wildcats are a pretty good college team. Last fall, the Cats sported an all-American goalkeeper in Canadian national teamer Callum Irving, and an all-region player in Napo Matsoso, who serves as the team’s engine in midfield. Irving has since signed an MLS contract, so it’s unclear who will be between the sticks tonight for Kentucky. Matsoso, a Louisville native, has had a very good college career and will likely be the focal point of the Kentucky offense.

Since the arrival of head coach Johan Cedergren in Lexington in 2012, the Cats have slowly climbed up the ladder in Conference USA (the SEC doesn’t have men’s soccer) and won the regular season title last fall, earning a seed in the NCAA College Cup before falling in the first round.

Anyway, it’s a preseason friendly and we shouldn’t get too worked up about it no matter what happens. Unless you want to, and in that case, go right ahead. It’s a free country.