It’s that time of year: The weather cools, night falls earlier, and Louisville City FC starts playing the most important games of its season.
Friday’s 8:00 p.m. meeting with Memphis 901 FC is no exception as the Nos. 1 and 2 sides in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference Standings to clash at Lynn Family Stadium.
With a victory, LouCity (19-5-6, 63 points) has the inside track to a No. 1 playoff seed with three games to go. Should Memphis (18-7-4, 58 points) come away with a win, the gap would shrink to just two points down the stretch of the regular season.
Given this game’s national importance, it’ll air on ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC in addition to LouCity’s regular local options.
The boys in purple will look for a similar outcome as their last against Memphis. Back on July 16, they rallied for a 2-1 victory in a wacky game including three red cards and eight yellow cards.
That result came at AutoZone Park, a baseball field converted to a soccer pitch. Coach Danny Cruz’s side will look to play more of its football when on the full Lynn Family Stadium field.
One more point earned would guarantee at least a top-four finish, meaning LouCity clinches a home playoff opener. The club would open the postseason the weekend of Oct. 22 in the conference quarterfinals with a 2-4 finish or earn a bye to the conference semifinals the weekend of Oct. 29 should it get the No. 1 seed.
Here’s more of what to watch for on Friday…
- The game will air live nationally on ESPN Deportes and locally on My58 TV and ESPN Louisville’s 680/105.7, with streaming via ESPN+ and the WDRB Now app.
- For Starting XI and in-game updates, follow @loucityfc on Twitter and Louisville City FC on Facebook. Also find the club at louisvillecityfc on Instagram.
- Cameron Lancaster (Out, injury)
- Niall McCabe (Out, injury)
- Ray Serrano (Out, red card)
- Josh Wynder (Out, international duty)
All eyes on first: While LouCity tops the Eastern Conference with room to spare, the road to the USL Championship’s best overall record became more difficult Tuesday when Western Conference leader San Antonio FC upped its total to 67 points with a win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. This is one goal City hasn’t yet achieved in its seven prior seasons.
Chasing history: LouCity is a win away from 20 victories in a season for the first time in club history. The boys in purple are also three points away from matching the 2018 squad’s 66 points, a record. They’re averaging 2.1 points per game earned — on pace to be the highest mark outside of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
Home fortress: Three of LouCity’s final four games will be played at Lynn Family Stadium. And that’s good news for those aforementioned records. Since capacity limits lifted in June of 2021, City’s 21-3-2 at Lynn with a +42 goal differential. That includes an 11-1-2 home record this season, when crowd sizes have averaged 10.391.
Career years: All four goals from last Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Loudoun United FC came from City’s top scorers in 2022, with each of them matching or exceeding their prior career-highs from a single season. Wilson Harris has scored 12 goals followed by Enoch Mushagalusa (10), Brian Ownby (nine) and Sean Totsch (nine).
For the books: When Totsch netted his 25th-minute penalty kick against Loudoun, he became the USL Championship’s all-time single-season leader in goals scored, surpassing the eight in a year by Bruno Perone (Wilmington Hammerheads, 2016) and Aiden McFadden (Atlanta United 2, 2021). Five of Totsch’s nine goals have come from the spot as he inherits penalty duties from the injured Cameron Lancaster.
Between the posts: Kyle Morton has tied the LouCity record for clean sheets in a season at 12, matching the number set by former City star Greg Ranjitsingh in 2018. The next milestone on deck comes at the league level, where he could still match the USL Championship record for shutouts at 15 should he keep three of City’s final four opponents scoreless.
He’s the Man(ny): With a single assist, Manny Perez perhaps didn’t get full credit for his goal contributions last Friday against Loudoun. He dished to Mushagalusa for the opener, absorbed a foul to set up Harris’ 20th-minute free kick, slid a pass into Ownby that led to Totsch’s penalty and passed in behind to Ownby, who scored on a resulting rebound for the fourth and final goal.
Called up: Josh Wynder will be unavailable Friday as he once again represents the United States at the youth national team’s U-19 level. This marks the local center back’s third call-up of the year to participate in the Slovenia Nations Cup, which continues with games at 1 p.m. Friday and Tuesday.