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 Louisville City FC

What to Watch for with LouCity at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

June 18, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Louisville City FC News Release

Louisville City FC forward Jorge Gonzalez
Louisville City FC forward Jorge Gonzalez
(Louisville City FC, Credit: Andres Isaza)

Louisville City FC will stay on the road, traveling from an away game over the weekend at the Tampa Bay Rowdies straight to Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. kickoff against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast what is typically a tightly contested matchup from Highmark Stadium, where LouCity and Pittsburgh have played to scoreless draws the last two seasons. Plus, fans won't have to change the channel to see Racing Louisville FC play Angel City FC at 10 p.m.

First-place LouCity (10-2-2, 32 points) enters off a rare loss, conceding a 92nd-minute goal against the Rowdies for just their second defeat of the year. Pittsburgh (3-6-5, 14 points) meanwhile is mired in an uncharacteristic 10th of 12 on the USL Championship's Eastern Conference standings.

For LouCity, it's often considered a positive to play on a quick turnaround from a defeat - the opportunity to quickly right a wrong. But the boys in purple exit a physical game at Tampa Bay, where the teams combined for 45 fouls in a hot, humid environment.

"Ideally, you're able to do that at home," coach Danny Cruz said of the schedule congestion, "but going on the road to Pittsburgh we know it's going to be a battle. It always is. It's going to be about recovery and then preparation in the video room making sure everyone's clear about what we're going to see."

Wednesday marks the third meeting of the year between LouCity and Pittsburgh, who played in the preseason before seeing one another March 23 at Lynn Family Stadium. The boys in purple prevailed by a 3-1 score as part of their best-ever start to a season nearing its halfway point.

The Bob Lilley-led Riverhounds showed signs of improvement back on June 8 when holding the Charleston Battery to a scoreless draw away. Then came another setback over the weekend in the form of a 2-0 loss to the Hartford Athletic.

Follow along

- The game will air exclusively on CBS Sports Network. Fans can also listen in via 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

Adrien Perez (out)

Brian Ownby (out)

Story lines...

Scoreboard watching: Despite a defeat at Tampa Bay, LouCity held its first-place position atop the Eastern Conference table, three points ahead of Charleston, which also lost over the weekend. City has long held games in hand on the Battery. That will change this week as the boys in purple play midweek in Pittsburgh before hosting Rhode Island FC on Saturday.

Bouncing back: When LouCity suffered its only other league loss of the season so far back on April 9 to the Charleston Battery, the boys in purple turned around to register a 3-1 win in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play over Greenville Triumph SC. Similarly, City was bounced from the Open Cup in a penalty kick shootout with Seattle Sounders SC and three days later defeated Orange County SC by a 3-0 score.

Goals aplenty: LouCity continues to score at a record-setting pace with 39 goals, a number doubling all but five of the USL Championship's other 23 teams. At a rate of 2.78 goals per game, the boys in purple are on track with the 2019 Phoenix Rising FC, who hold the league's single-season record for goals scored at 89 (2.62 per game).

Closing out: Coach Danny Cruz mentioned late-game execution as an area of growth after LouCity allowed North Carolina FC a stoppage-time goal back in a 2-1 victory on June 8. While that goal didn't cost City points, the Rowdies similarly found a late winner past 90 minutes, leading Cruz to again mention "switching off" late as a point of improvement.

Harris returns: LouCity's leading scorer, Wilson Harris, made his way back as a 70th-minute substitute against Tampa Bay. It marked the 10-goal scorer's first minutes in three games due to a minor muscle strain. Harris remains second in the league's Golden Boot race to Charleston's Nick Markanich, who's on 12 goals.

Injury update: LouCity's assist leader, Adrien Perez, will be out for the immediate future after leaving absorbing a foul and subbing off early in the June 8 game against North Carolina. City's other long-term injury belongs to Brian Ownby, who suffered a knee injury late in the preseason. Ownby recently returned to light training but has months left on his rehab.

Gonzalez's goals: Jorge Gonzalez has made the most of playing time produced by injuries, filling in both at center forward for Harris and out wide for Perez. With starts in back-to-back games, he's up to 5 goal contributions on the year - 3 goals, 2 assists - having threaded the needle off a corner kick to score City's second at Tampa Bay.

Images from this story

Louisville City FC forward Jorge Gonzalez
Louisville City FC forward Jorge Gonzalez

(Andres Isaza)

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