Sports stats

 Louisville City FC

What to Watch for with LouCity at Tampa Bay Rowdies

June 14, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Louisville City FC News Release

Louisville City FC gets control of the ball in USL Championship play
Louisville City FC gets control of the ball in USL Championship play
(Louisville City FC)

Another chapter will be written in one of the USL Championship's most competitive rivalries when Louisville City FC travels to play the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Not much has separated LouCity and Tampa Bay in 14 games across all competitions, and that's expected to be the case again with both clubs holding top-four positions on the Eastern Conference table heading into this weekend's game at Al Lang Stadium.

City and the Rowdies have won six meetings apiece against the other to go with two draws. That includes four playoff meetings - three of them coming in the Eastern Conference Final each year from 2020-2022. Two of those conference finals went to extra time.

Home sides tend to have the advantage, as the only time LouCity took all three points from a game at Al Lang Stadium was in July of 2018.

This year's first City-Rowdies meeting falls amid an eight-game unbeaten streak for the boys in purple, who enter off a 2-1 win last Saturday over North Carolina FC, which put a scare into coach Danny Cruz's squad by stealing a goal back in second half stoppage time.

"It's a growth moment for us for sure, especially here at home," Cruz said. "...The group certainly will learn from it. It's good to be able to fight through a game here and have to close a game out under pressure."

LouCity now sits three points ahead of the Charleston Battery in the Eastern Conference standings and holds a game in hand on the second-place side. City's 32 points earned are best overall across the USL Championship.

Fourth-place Tampa Bay heads back to St. Petersburg, Florida, for its only home game this month after a West Coast road trip that ended with a 1-0 defeat last weekend at Oakland Roots SC. The Rowdies have picked up 14 points from seven games so far at Al Lang Stadium with the best home record in the East side from LouCity's perfect mark.

Saturday night will mark the third away match of this stretch of four to kick off June for the boys in purple. Away from Lynn Family Stadium, where the playing conditions don't often mimic the ones in Louisville, LouCity is 3-1-2 with a +2 goal differential. City has outscored its opponents 9-3 across its last four matches on the road.

Follow along

- The game will air live locally on WBKI/The CW and ESPN Louisville's AM 680/FM 105.7.

- If streaming, download the free WDRB+ app to watch the local feed in Louisville. ESPN+ or Golazo Network also streams the home feed of all USL Championship games not selected for national TV.

- 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...

Record pace: LouCity's 32 points in 13 games (2.5 points per game) represent the club's best-ever start in 10 seasons, bettering the 28 points accumulated to open the 2016 campaign. In both 2017 and 2018 - seasons that ended with USL Championship titles - City tallied 25 points over this same span. Phoenix Rising FC's 2019 squad holds the league record for points in a season at 78 (2.3 points per game).

Offensive relentlessness: LouCity's 37 goals scored are the best in the league and continue to double those tallied by all but four other USL Championship clubs. At a rate of 2.7 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. With four more goals, City will tie its total from all of last season.

Unbeaten run: It's been eight league games without a loss for the boys in purple dating back to an April 9 match at Charleston Battery, their only defeat of the season. LouCity has now gone on a streak of at least eight contests without a defeat in seven of its 10 seasons. This current unbeaten run is the longest since a 10-game stretch from June 18-August 27 of 2022.

Finishing the job: One of the hallmarks of success for LouCity this year has been its ability to put games to bed. Cruz's men are 6-0 when leading at halftime and unbeaten in their last 11 matches when ahead after 45 minutes. That streak dates back to a July 23, 2023, draw with Birmingham Legion FC. The other 10 results over that span were wins.

Cool from the spot: Cold as ice. That has defined LouCity on penalty kicks. Sean Totsch's calm finish from the spot last weekend against North Carolina FC extended LouCity's streak of converted penalties to 25 going back to June 7, 2021. Eleven of those shots were made by Totsch, who hasn't missed a penalty in league play in his career.

Swiss Army Knife: No matter the role, Sam Gleadle has answered the call in his first season in Louisville, demonstrating invaluable versatility by playing at wingback, in the midfield and as a center forward. The 28-year-old found himself subbed on due to an injury just 13 minutes in against NCFC. Before the half, he had LouCity in front thanks to his first club goal, a header in off Aiden McFadden's cross.

Marksman up front: Leading goal scorer Wilson Harris was missing from action for the second consecutive game last weekend due to a muscle strain. Harris, who in his last appearance registered a brace in a 5-1 win over Detroit City FC, could return to the pitch on Saturday. With 10 goals he has already passed his total from 2023 and trails only Charleston forward Nick Markanich's 12 goals in the Golden Boot race.

Playing creator: McFadden, an Atlanta United loanee, was one of LouCity's most dangerous threats against NCFC. The 25-year-old picked up his first assist of the season with a dime of a right-footed cross finished by Gleadle. In his 90 minutes on the right wing, McFadden finished tied for the team lead in successful dribbles (4) and chances created (3).

Injury adversity: LouCity's assist leader Adrien Perez was forced off the pitch early against NCFC after absorbing a foul in the midfield. Perez has started in all but two games this season, collecting seven goal involvements, the third most on the team. The loss of the 28-year-old, who has played in the same wide role as Brian Ownby, will test the depth of this talented City attacking unit.

Images from this story

Louisville City FC gets control of the ball in USL Championship play
Louisville City FC gets control of the ball in USL Championship play


• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...

United Soccer League Championship Stories from June 14, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central