What to Watch for with LouCity at Sporting KC II
Louisville City FC will be looking to hold first place while Sporting KC II attempts a climb from last of eight in a race to qualify for the playoffs - both clubs on short rest after playing over the weekend.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Children's Mercy Park with MyTV 58, ESPN Louisville's AM 680/FM 105.7 and ESPN+ all set to broadcast.
The boys in purple (8-3-3) will have to rebound quickly from an especially late Friday night (and Saturday morning) at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Lightning delays led to the latest kickoff time of 10:55 p.m. ET in club history.
A 1-1 draw kept LouCity in eight of its last nine games dating back to the beginning of June.
An especially young SKC II (3-7-5) has shut out consecutive opponents amid a gap in its schedule. The club defeated Atlanta United 2 before returning Saturday to play OKC Energy FC to a scoreless draw.
Here's more of what to watch for Wednesday...
- For Starting XI and in-game updates, follow @loucityfc on Twitter and Louisville City FC on Facebook. Also find us at louisvillecityfc on Instagram. Live stats can be found at LouCity.com/match-center, plus don't forget to download our official app.
- On the MyTV 58 (The CW)/ESPN+ streaming call: Mike Watts (play by play) and Devon Kerr (color).
- And for ESPN 680/105.7 on the radio: Jeff Greer and Casey Whitfield.
Notes to know
Top of the table: Two games from the halfway mark of the 32-game season, LouCity is already where it wants to be in the end: first place. 27 points for the boys in purple are two more than Birmingham Legion FC in the USL Championship's Central Division and 11 points to the good in the race for a top-four finish to make the playoffs. A plus-12 goal differential - a key in tiebreaker situations - is tops across the Eastern Conference.
Last time here: This marks LouCity's second trip of the month to Children's Mercy Park following a 4-2 victory there back on July 2. That night, Parker Siegfried made his first start in goal and the attack supported him as the boys in purple scored a trio of second half goals in just 11 minutes. Winger Brian Ownby had a hand in three goals, including a 57th-minute curler from distance that marked the game winner.
Injury questions: LouCity went without forward Cameron Lancaster and midfielder Corben Bone on the lineup card at Colorado Springs as both recover from minor knocks. Team captain Paolo DelPiccolo was also limited to 35 minutes as a second half substitute. Cruz hasn't been afraid to rotate new names into his lineup as forward Jimmy McLaughlin has become a fixture of late making three straight starts.
Options up top: If LouCity goes without Lancaster again, others have proven ample. Forward Kyle Greig, signed out of free agency in May, has already scored four goals, two of them last time at Sporting KC II. Jorge Gonzalez also holds potential. A loanee from MLS' Portland Timbers, the 22-year-old Gonzalez is just getting into the LouCity rotation after an early season injury. He tallied eight goals in 10 Portland Timbers 2 appearances last year.
JoGo on the attack: The 17-year-old phenom Jonathan Gomez is a defender in title but has made an impact in LouCity's offense, using high pace to get up and down the left wing. His latest assist at Colorado Springs bumped Gomez to five on the season, tied for fourth-most in the USL Championship. Gomez has also scored two goals while remaining solid on the other side of the ball, leading LouCity in 24 interceptions on the year.
Hoppenot's breakthrough: Was the hair holding him back? Forward Antoine Hoppenot recently shed his mane in favor of a buzzcut, and 14 games into the season bagged his first goal. Hoppenot finished a nice bit of 74th-minute combination play between Gomez and Jorge Gonzalez in Colorado Springs. In what was his 50th club appearance, Hoppenot made it his sixth goal in purple.
Spreading the wealth: Hoppenot was the 12th LouCity player to score a goal this season for a club that has evidenced it has threats up and down the roster. Only eight field players to make an appearance haven't hit the back of the net yet for the boys in purple. Just six haven't yet contributed to a goal, with George Davis IV and Oscar Jimenez also numbering assists in 2021.
Stat stuffers: Aside from Gomez's lofty assist number, LouCity has players at or near the top of the league in a number of statistical categories. They include defender Sean Totsch, whose 911 passes are 89 more than second on the list; midfielder Niall McCabe's 79 crosses, tied for most in the USL Championship; and Lancaster's seven goals, fifth-most despite Lancaster being limited to 10 appearances thus far.
Cameron Lancaster is two goals away from 60 USL Championship goals.
Oscar Jimenez (out)
Adbou Thiam (out)
Elijah Wynder (out)
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