What to Watch for with LouCity vs. Memphis 901 FC
Having operated at a reduced capacity for nearly a year, Lynn Family Stadium will finally get the Grand Opening party it deserves.
Louisville City FC will play host to Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m., just one piece of an all-day celebration celebrating the Butchertown neighborhood venue's first 100% capacity game.
While the boys in purple are looking to rebound following consecutive losses - to rival Indy Eleven on May 29 and on the road against Atlanta United 2 last Sunday - they'll have the backing of a record number of fans with Lynn Family Stadium's capacity 15,304.
LouCity has dealt with periodic losses of key players, seeing both striker Cameron Lancaster (hamstring pull) and defender Jonathan Gomez (on international duty) unavailable in the Atlanta loss. Both could return Saturday, while recently promoted head coach Danny Cruz has also welcomed back forward Brian Ownby from suspension.
Memphis 901 FC comes to Louisville having yet to play a game on its home turf this season, tasked with a five-game road swing to start the 2021 campaign. The Ben Pirmann-led side has made it through three straight unbeaten, most recently defeating Indy Eleven 2-1 last weekend at Carroll Stadium.
Saturday's game marks the first of the year between LouCity and Memphis, both members of the USL Championship's Central Division. The boys in purple travel to AutoZone Park for the next two fixtures on Sept. 25 and Oct. 13 before closing out the series Oct. 32 at Lynn Family Stadium.
Here's what to know heading into Saturday...
- 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.
- On the WBKI-TV (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
Party of the year: Gates for the Grand Opening - presented by Messer-Harmon construction - open at 6 p.m., with $3 draft beers until game time and the renowned DJ K-Dogg working a pregame playlist. Outside the north end of the stadium from 5-6:30 p.m. fans can find contests on the miniature soccer pitch along with myriad kids zone activities and concessions including Ehrler's ice cream. As the opening whistle nears, The Coopers' March to the Match plans to walk as one starting at 6:15 p.m. from Ten20 Craft Brewery on Washington Street into Lynn Family Stadium.
A legendary visitor?: For the second time this season, LouCity will go against a club with a former U.S. Men's National Team star in its ownership group. Following Landon Donovan's visit May 22 with San Diego Loyal, now its longtime goalkeeper Tim Howard's turn to potentially take in a game at Lynn Family Stadium. Howard, who also made six appearances with Memphis in 2020, is among its owners and its sporting director in charge of soccer decisions.
Return from El Tri: Defender Jonathan Gomez is back in Louisville after a two-week stint training with the Mexican National Team as the team participated in the CONCACAF Nations League's final. At just 17 years old, Gomez impressed at left back through LouCity's opening three games having gone the full 90 minutes. Despite missing a pair of games, he continues to lead LouCity with 10 interceptions while also posting 21 duels won and three clearances. Because he remains uncapped, the dual national retains the option to represent the United States moving forward.
A hat in the ring: In just his third week with LouCity, forward Kyle Greig found himself in a starting role against Atlanta as fellow striker Cameron Lancaster stayed home to nurse a nagging hamstring tweak. Highly involved in the attack, Greig numbered six shots - three on target - and led his team in aerial duels won with nine and fouls won with three. Greig also scored on debut for his new club, leaving coach Danny Cruz with a decision to make Saturday as far as who gets leads the attack.
Breaking the habit: While LouCity's tied for second in goals allowed in the Central Division at only five, three of those five came by way of opposing penalties. The first was conceded in a 1-1 draw to Birmingham on May 8 with the other two coming in a 2-1 loss to rival Indy Eleven on May 29. Outside of a 27th-minute goal given up at Atlanta, LouCity's only goal allowed in the run of play this season came late in a 2-1 victory last month over San Diego.
Promise in the attack: Cruz said following Sunday's 1-0 decision that his side is creating enough chances to win games but still struggling to finish in the final third. The boys in purple totaled 24 shots in Atlanta - six more than the previous weekend against Indy Eleven - with 20 taken inside the opponent's box. Along with having possession of the ball the majority of the time (60.2%), City won 18 fouls, was never offside and earned four corners compared to Atlanta's one.
Super subs: In a rare halftime substitution Sunday night, Cruz sent in defender Wes Charpie for Ownby, looking to answer his club's first half defensive woes. In his first appearance of the season, Charpie brought the perfect amount of energy. Unafraid to attack the box, the Florida native tried a bicycle attempt on goal in the 80th minute that led to a penalty for LouCity. He also chipped in four shots, a chance created and gained possession five times off Atlanta. Forward Jimmy McLaughlin and midfielder Tyler Gibson also provided a much-needed spark off the bench, McLaughlin posting two shots on goal and Gibson serving an incredible 90 percent pass success rate in the opposition's half.
Youth movement: In part a product of injuries to more seasoned pros, LouCity has leaned on a trio of much younger players lately to fill out its lineup card. Defender Josh Wynder, 16, recently signed a full pro contract. Carlos Moguel Jr. and Sebastian Sanchez have also appeared on Cruz's bench in recent games. Both are on USL Academy contracts permitting them to train for and play for the first team while preserving their amateur status.
Oscar Jimenez (out)
Abdou Thiam (out)
Elijah Wynder (out)
Niall McCabe is four appearances away from his 150th Louisville City FC appearance and two goals away from 20.
Cameron Lancaster is one appearance away from marking his 100th regular season appearance in purple.
Kyle Greig is two appearances away from making his 200th USL Championship appearance.
Images from this story
Louisville City FC defender Jonathan Gomez
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