Before we delve too deeply into this week’s upcoming match, let’s take one last look at last weekend in Charleston. There are draws that feel like wins, and there are draws that feel like losses. Louisville City fans, players and coaches can feel okay calling this result against the Battery the latter. Often in soccer there are games where your team plays well and loses, and there are games where your team plays mediocre-to-poorly and wins. The Ottawa game a couple weeks ago is a pretty good example, from a statistical standpoint.
This was a game where Louisville City played really, really well and didn’t get all three points. Team Purple won the possession battle 53% – 47%. They won every single one of their eighteen tackles – I’ve never seen that before. They won 52% of their duels and 56% of the aerial battles. They completed over 80% of their passes, and were over 70% in Charleston’s half. They created nine scoring chances to the Battery’s four, only allowing one chance in the second half. They had more than double Charleston’s shot tally, in total (15-7) and on target (5-2). Usually, if LouCity plays that well, they win the game.
It didn’t happen on Saturday night. Splitting points on the road against top-of-the-table Charleston on a super hot and humid night is definitely not a bad thing. But when you perform as well as our guys did and don’t come away with the win, it’s difficult to swallow.
But! There’s plenty to be positive about. Guy Abend played one of the best games you’ll see from a central midfielder, completing 90% of his 70 passes, 81% in the opposing half. Paolo DelPiccolo did a great job, too – 79%/76% OP – but Guy was stellar.
Sean Reynolds won Man of the Match from Nick Murray, and for good reason. He missed just two passes in his 90 minutes, was 4-0 in duels, and won three tackles, two clearances, and two interceptions. The second clearance saved a goal. Paco Craig also played great with eleven clearances of his own, two scoring chances created, over 80% passing, and won eight of his eleven duels. I also love watching Sean Totsch play because he likes to get involved in the attack whenever he can. Totsch completed almost 80% of his passes in the opposing half on Saturday, took two shots, one of which led to Ilic’s goal, and tried a nifty cross in the first half that was cleared before George Davis IV could get on the end of it.
Kyle Smith has a number in just about every statistical category from Saturday’s game, the vast majority of them being good. The penalty he surrendered was very unfortunate. Kyle was unbelievably unlucky not to score in the second minute of the game – I’ve never seen a ball hit both posts and the crossbar before. Oscar put in another very good shift, completing over 80% of his passes and continuing to create scoring chances from the left wing.
I won’t say it was an off night from the front three, because Ilija scored a goal. However, there were only four shot attempts from Brian Ownby, Cuatro, and Ilic combined. The forwards did pass the ball well, but Ilija barely touched the ball all game. He had just three touches in the Battery penalty area, all coming in the first half. Lancaster fared no better when he subbed on, with only one touch in Charleston’s half, period. I don’t necessarily see this as a sign of a stalled offense, but the result of Charleston defending a lot in their own half. They’re pretty good at that.
All that said, this is an okay result. City didn’t lose any ground to Charleston in the standings, but they didn’t gain any either. All of the sudden, however, Charlotte is right at LouCity’s purple heels in the table. Let’s make up for lost points on Saturday, then, shall we?