After reflecting on Louisville City’s 1-1 draw Saturday against the Rochester Rhinos, coach James O’Connor reminded that, “I don’t think anyone intentionally comes out flat.”
“I think you go through periods where that sometimes happens,” he added to media gathered Monday at Louisville Slugger Field. “I think you think about it, and you try to rectify it. But I think for me, you look at the quality of our passes, especially the first first half, and I’ve never seen us give away the ball so cheaply.”
A turnover in the midfield led to a one-touch Rhinos goal in just the 13th minute Saturday. It came three days after the Harrisburg City Islanders also rushed out to a 1-0 lead in the first half, forcing LouCity to claw back for a draw. The club rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds three games back after also trailing at the half.
LouCity will look to avoid another slow start in the biggest game of its 2016 season, Friday’s showdown with the New York Red Bulls II. The game at Red Bulls Arena pits teams tied atop the USL’s Eastern Conference standings, though New York has two games in hand and Louisville ground to make up with few games left before the playoffs.
“The first half performances in the last three games haven’t been what we expect or what we want,” O’Connor said. “Second half we’re coming back, but equally we’re giving ourselves a mountain to climb because we’re a goal down and having to fight back into the game.
“We need to cut that out and get a more fully rounded performance, which hopefully we’ll do against the Red Bulls.”
O’Connor called it a “massive game” for his team. Here’s more from his weekly press conference…
- On the club’s recent form: “You go through phases throughout the course of the season where maybe you don’t play as well as you have done previously, so the mental aspect comes in, and character. You have to step up and accept responsibility which, we have a great group of guys. I’ve said many times: We have a fantastic group of guys, and it means so much to them.”
- What he can take away from this season’s other game against the Red Bulls, a 2-0 loss in April: “New York will know how we will want to play. We will know how they want to play. But when we played them here, it was in hurricane winds, so it’s a little bit different.”
- On LouCity’s confidence level: “Fine. I mean, I think we’ve lost three games all season. We went on a 17-match unbeaten run, and I think you’ve got guys in there who are having really strong seasons. For us, it’s fine. We’ve drawn two home games which we would have hoped to have won, but equally, it happens. You don’t always win every game. For us, it’s managing that frustration, because we want to win games.”