Louisville City FC Seeks Continued Momentum Shift At FC Tulsa
After snapping a three-game losing skid with an emphatic 2-0 win over rival Indy Eleven last weekend, Louisville City FC hits the road aiming to build on that momentum Friday night against FC Tulsa. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET at ONEOK Field.
LouCity coach Danny Cruz called the Indy victory a “line in the sand” moment, challenging his players to decide if they would roll over or stand up and fight. The boys in purple responded with their most complete performance in weeks, displaying the talent and determination that made them a championship contender entering this season.
The key to the improved showing was Cruz’s tactical shift to a three-man backline following the addition of defender Kyle Adams. The new shape allowed Oscar Jimenez and Amadou Dia to push higher up the wings, and the two combined to set up both goals against Indy. Jimenez in particular thrived in the wingback role where he first made his mark with LouCity, notching a pair of assists to tie Brian Ownby’s club record of 34.
19-year-old goalkeeper Oliver Semmle was barely troubled in recording his 10th shutout of the campaign, equaling the USL Championship rookie record. The defensive organization limited Indy to just 5 attempts, demonstrating the potential of the revamped back line.
The offensive production had been the most significant concern during the losing streak. However, Elijah Wynder and Cameron Lancaster found the net to show LouCity’s attacking prowess is still alive and well. With Wilson Harris also returning from injury as a late substitute last weekend, Cruz now has his full array of offensive weapons available.
Despite floating around the playoff line most of the season, LouCity sits just 9 points off the Eastern Conference lead with multiple games in hand on the teams above them. With the talent on paper and Cruz pushing the right buttons, this team expects to be playing meaningful games down the stretch.
Friday’s opponent FC Tulsa enters on a down note after having their 5-game winning streak emphatically snapped by Tampa Bay last weekend. Tulsa had climbed from the bottom of the table to the playoff places during their hot run, but still sit just 7th in the East.
When these teams met in May, Tulsa rallied late for a 2-1 road victory that marked one of the early warning signs of LouCity’s midseason struggles. Phillip Goodrum, signed from Memphis 901 FC, scored his first goal for Tulsa that night and will aim to spoil the purple party again.
But with momentum on their side and Cruz instilling the right mindset, expect a focused and determined performance from Louisville City as they push to build on last week’s blueprint. If Jimenez and Co. can supply the same creativity and Semmle locks down defensively again, three points could be headed back to Kentucky from Oklahoma.
After finding their “line in the sand” moment, the boys in purple aim to make a defining statement that they are still among the Eastern Conference elite.
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Photo By Chris Humphrey