Louisville City offense finding form ahead of U.S. Open Cup bout - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville City offense finding form ahead of U.S. Open Cup bout with Indy Eleven

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A rough heat map showing Matt Fondy's touches on the ball against Toronto FC II at Louisville Slugger Field. Longer streaks tend to indicate runs of possession. A rough heat map showing Matt Fondy's touches on the ball against Toronto FC II at Louisville Slugger Field. Longer streaks tend to indicate runs of possession.
Matt Fondy (Courtesy: EM Dash Photography) Matt Fondy (Courtesy: EM Dash Photography)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When Louisville City FC signed veteran striker Matt Fondy, there were expectations. Those expectations only grew when the forward led the team in preseason scoring.

When the season got rolling, Fondy was kept off the score sheet as Louisville's offense struggled to connect at times – battling to three straight 1-1 draws. The floodgates opened against Toronto in a 4-0 victory, just a week before the team put three on the board against Saint Louis.

Fondy was named USL Player of the Week two days after the 3-3 draw in Saint Louis, and the striker has now netted four goals in the last two USL matches. The team put a total of eight goals on the board in three matches this past week. 

“The team is playing great,” Fondy said Tuesday. “We are starting to build chemistry and buy into the system. I am just the lucky striker who is benefiting from good team play.”

Head coach James O'Connor has had to make some changes here and there as the roster has struggled with varying degrees of injuries to Charlie Adams, Magnus Rasmussen, Adam West, Guy Abend, Orlando City loanee Sidney Rivera and Cameron Lancaster.

O'Connor brought in former Orlando player Aodhan Quinn to fill in the gap left in Abend's absence, and he says the midfield has been able to work back into a rhythm with the addition. 

"Magnus had to drop back and fill in for Guy, and now we've managed to get Magnus back in the hole. I think that's a better position for him," O'Connor said after the win over Toronto FC II on May 16. 

The injury stricken-midfield has continued to find ways to connect and, now, Fondy is starting to reap the benefits. However, the kind of work Fondy puts in can't be overlooked.

“The bonus with Matt is everyone sort of gets attracted to him and leaves space for some of the other players,” O'Connor said at practice in April. “That's something we've talked about and he's been very unfortunate not to score.”

His fortunes have improved, but the credit for that isn't simply cosmic – it's in what O'Connor had to say about him. He attracts defenders and puts in work to allow Louisville City to develop opportunities. A heat map of his touches against Toronto FC II shows just how much he spreads his touches around the offensive half of the field.

He's no longer playing the role of lone striker at the top of a City's formation, but seems to have found a home alongside midfielder Rasmussen. 

"We kind of want to be a free-flowing team," Fondy said. "I definitely like running in behind, so you're gonna see that person coming underneath me and receiving the ball trying to turn, but at the same time maybe I'll get on the ball, turn, and that person will make a run behind."

In between the team's two matches against Saint Louis this week, Louisville will travel to Indianapolis to take on Indy Eleven in their second round of the U.S. Open Cup. Louisville defeated Lansing United in Michigan last week, and a win in Indianapolis on Wednesday night could earn them a game against the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.

Louisville City FC at Indy Eleven
Wednesday, May 26 - 7:30 p.m.
Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium

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