Match: Penn FC vs Louisville City FC
Date: Wednesday, September 19th
Time: 6:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 p.m. Central, 3:30 p.m. Pacific, 10:30 p.m. UTC
Venue: FNB Field (City Island. Harrisburg, PA)
Refs: REF: Bardhyl Pashaj AR1: Tyler Wyrostek AR2: Katarzyna Wasiak 4TH: Patrick Sudol
How to Watch: ESPN + (Subscription Required)
How Louisville will look: Louisville comes to City Island sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference. But despite that, they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch. They’re winless in their last four matches and they just allowed Pittsburgh to score twice late to come back and draw in their match on Saturday. They’ll be looking to put away Penn FC to try and right the ship and secure a better position heading into the playoffs.
Wednesday will be John Hackworth’s first visit to City Island as Head Coach of Louisville City FC. He should be familiar with the area as he loaned plenty of players to Harrisburg while he was Head Coach with the Philadelphia Union. Of course, those players had played at Skyline Sports Complex and not at FNB Field.
How Penn FC will look: Penn FC was playing for their playoff lives on Sunday but they couldn’t find a goal against North Carolina FC. Now they pretty much need to win out to find a playoff spot and their next three opponents are Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Yikes.
That being said, Penn FC played tough against Louisville earlier in the season with an impressive comeback to draw 3-3. And don’t forget, the Harrisburg City Islanders defeated the future USL champs on City Island just last season. So Harrisburg teams have been a thorn in the side for Louisville recently.
What to Expect: Well the weather has broken a bit in the Harrisburg region, so don’t expect the wet, sloppy conditions from last Wednesday to pop up again. The pitch has been getting beat up a little due to all of the matches being played back to back, but at least the players won’t be slipping and sliding all over the place.
Penn FC has to face the current USL goal scoring leader without their best defender as Ken Tribbett suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday. Tribbett has been captain all season, so someone else will need to step up in order to ensure that the defense doesn’t get picked apart by clever passes from Louisville. Penn FC has been giving up too many goals lately because opposing players keep finding space to work in at the top of the box.
The Penn FC defense needs to deliver a clean sheet in order for the team to win because they cannot spend another eighty minutes chasing from behind and looking for a goal. If Penn FC can’t find a goal within the first ten minutes or so, then they’ll want to pull back and play defensive for a while to try and catch Louisville making a mistake. That’s far from a guarantee, but if they can capitalize then that could help open up the floodgates for scoring. After all, Toronto was able to put away four goals against them last month.
PREDICTION: Both of these teams have been off their game lately but Penn FC has been able to play their best against their toughest opponents. So I think there’s a good chance they manage another 1-0 upset over Louisville. UNLESS the defensive changes are too much. Then it’ll probably be closer to 3-1 Louisville.