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 Louisville City FC

What to Watch for with LouCity at Charleston Battery

April 8, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Louisville City FC News Release

Louisville City FC forward Ray Serrano
Louisville City FC forward Ray Serrano
(Louisville City FC, Credit: EM Dash Photography)

A Louisville City FC team that has fielded the same starting lineup each game this season - all wins - will face its first test of rotation in another high-profile matchup Tuesday.

Three days after defeating rival Indy Eleven on CBS Sports Network, LouCity travels for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Charleston Battery in a 2023 USL Championship Eastern Conference Final rematch at Patriots Point. CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.

This City squad is looking a notch above the group that posted double-digit losses, finished fifth on the table and suffered a 2-1 defeat last November in South Carolina. The 2024 boys in purple boast a 4-0 record, a +10 goal differential and have scored five goals in back-to-back outings.

Tuesday is an opportunity for coach Danny Cruz to showcase his roster's depth - and for those beyond this season's only starting 11 to earn their way into future lineups.

Wes Charpie, Jorge Gonzalez and Carlos Moguel Jr. each started last fall's conference final but have played limited or no minutes this year. Amadou Dia is on the return from an injury at the end of 2023 and eligible for more time, while LouCity made a major loan addition just last week when adding Aiden McFadden from Major League Soccer's Atlanta United.

If Cruz finds another winning combination, a victory at Charleston would have LouCity off to its best-ever start. The only other time the boys in purple went 4-0, they finished the 2018 season lifting the USL Championship trophy.

Follow along

- The game will air live on CBS Sports Network and ESPN Louisville's AM 680/FM 105.7.

- For Starting XI and in-game updates, follow @loucityfc on Twitter. Also find the club at louisvillecityfc on Instagram and Louisville City FC on Facebook.

Player availability report

Sam Gleadle (out)

Brian Ownby (out)

Story lines...

The early table: There's a long way to go, but LouCity finds itself atop the Eastern Conference, edging past 4-0 Detroit City FC on goal differential. Charleston enters Tuesday's game unbeaten, good for fourth in the standings with a 2-0-3 record. The Battery are coming off a scoreless weekend draw away to league newcomer Rhode Island FC.

He's inevitable: Wilson Harris has hit the back of the net in each of LouCity's four games, delivering his biggest performance yet in Saturday's 5-0 win over Indy Eleven when registering his first career hat trick. With seven goals, Harris is America's leading scorer, boasting a higher total than any other player from the country's pro ranks so far in 2024.

Hat trick history: Harris became the fifth player in club history to score three goals in a game, with Saturday's feat the eighth LouCity regular season hat trick. Matt Fondy (2015), Chandler Hoffman (2016) and Cameron Lancaster (2016, 2021) each have hat tricks, while Enoch Mushagalusa's triple goal performance on July 9, 2022, was the most recent hat trick for City before Harris.

Kentucky kids: A pair of emerging stars with strong local ties scored LouCity's other goals versus Indy. Elizabethtown's Jansen Wilson converted in the 41st minute for his first pro goal before Louisville's Elijah Wynder headed in a 50th-minute, pin-balling effort at the face of the Eleven's goal.

Serrano's big start: Ray Serrano ran his season assist total to a league-leading three on Saturday to continue a hot start to 2024. The 21-year-old is a seasoned pro despite his age, playing in the league since 2018. This breakout campaign along LouCity's front three also included goals in back-to-back games before he set up Wynder's strike and the finale to Harris' hat trick Saturday.

Midfield maestro: Serrano and LouCity newcomer Taylor Davila have both created 11 chances so far this season, second behind the 13 for league leader Jorge Hernandez of San Antonio FC. An All-League First Team selection last year, Davila has slotted right into City's starting midfield, providing a controlling presence while leading the team in passes (49) and completed passes (41) Saturday.

Shaky at the back: If there's one area LouCity will want to see improvement Tuesday, it's in the defense. Indy Eleven's three goals were triple what LouCity conceded combined in its prior three games with Jack Blake earning a brace - one goal from a penalty, another from the run of play - and an own goal knocked in off a City deflection. Indy did make the most of limited chances, as Stats Perform showing three shots on target and 1.02 expected goals.

Looking ahead: After this first bit of schedule congestion, LouCity gets a weekend off heading into Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition. The boys in purple are slated to host USL League One's Greenville Triumph SC at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at Lynn Family Stadium. The Third Round sees most USL Championship clubs join with surviving teams moving on to the Round of 32.

Images from this story

Louisville City FC forward Ray Serrano
Louisville City FC forward Ray Serrano

(EM Dash Photography)

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