Louisville City FC – Match Report Vs. New York Red Bulls II (03/23/2022)

Louisville City FC defeated New York Red Bulls II 2-0 in USL action. Louisville has been one of the top teams in the USL for a long time. But this season they have refreshed their squad with several younger players from MLS reserve teams. So it was interesting to see how those younger players integrated with the veterans of the squad. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Joshua Wynder

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American 
  • Age: 16
  • Date of Birth: 02/05/2005
  • Current Club: Louisville City FC
  • Career: Louisville City (Y) 
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred Foot: Left 

At just 16, Wynder already has a dozen games at the USL level under his belt. In this game, the main thing that stood out was his passing ability. He almost operated as a deep-lying playmaker with his teammates clearly putting a lot of trust in him to be able to play the ball out of the back. He was able to play line-breaking passes both on the ground and in the air.

On several occasions, he was able to play accurate diagonal balls in behind the opposing defence from well within his half. More impressively still, he was able to play passes with both his left and right foot. NYRBII, as part of the Red Bull system, played a very aggressive pressing system so he was doing all of this under pressure and still succeeding. All of that being said though, he is still 16. So, to put it mildly, his game still has some gaps.

The main issue with Wynder is that he is not a very strong tackler, which is kind of a problem for a centre-back. NYRBII was able to get three good chances, as a result of him either being too slow to close a player down or looking hesitant to step into a tackle. Otherwise, his defending was not that bad. Despite having quite a small frame (probably due to being 16) Wynder did quite well in aerial duels. He also did a good job of using his body to shield the ball in a few situations where he was under pressure. He is 6 feet tall so once he fills out a bit he should be able to better handle the physical side of the game. He also showed some good defensive awareness to cut out opposition passes. 

Rating: A2

Wynder already showed strong ability on the ball, he just needs more experience, to fill out a bit, and to improve his defensive play. But I think there were clear signs in this match that he has the potential to go on to bigger and better things (even if it will probably be at least two or three years until we see that potential fully realized). 

Wilson Harris

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 28/11/1999
  • Current Club: Louisville City FC
  • Career: Swope Park Rangers/Sporting Kansas City II, Sporting Kansas City, Louisville City FC
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

After being cut loose by Sporting Kansas City, Harris has started every game for Louisville so far this season. This is in part due to an injury to long-time USL standout Cameron Lancaster. In this match, he showed some of the strengths that have led to him finding success at the USL level before but also showed some of the weaknesses that lead to him not sticking in MLS.

Harris’ strength has always been his ability to get on the end of dangerous scoring chances. In this game he did show some very strong off-the-ball movement, always making runs to dangerous areas. The ball did not find him very often on this occasion but he was getting into the right areas. He is not necessarily the fastest player of all time but he had enough pace to get in behind defenders and cause them some problems. His speed and off-the-ball movement lead to Lamine Conte being sent off for NYRBII. That said though, he was caught offside on many occasions. So the timing of those runs in behind is an area for improvement.

Another area for improvement for Harris is his touch. Heavy touches let him down on some occasions whether he was sprinting behind the opposition defence with the ball or trying to dribble through opposing defences. Harris showed decent strength and hold-up play, though for the most part, his passing range was limited. He is 6’0 tall with a wiry build which was enough to hold off most defenders in physical duels. He also scored a very flukey deflected free-kick. This goal was probably not very repeatable but it was a decent strength and shows that direct free kicks are something he has in his Arsenal.

Rating: A2

Harris is 22 and, as the main striker for one of USL’s strongest teams, is going to be in a position to have a lot of success this season. He’s now up to two goals and an assist in three games this season and I expect his scoring form to continue, though maybe not at quite that pace. The question is, can he get back to MLS? To do that he would have to either show that there is more to his game than being a goal poacher or be such a prolific goal poacher that he’s impossible to deny. The latter will be harder to do this season as many (though not all) of the weaker MLS reserve teams who used to play in USL have made the switch to MLS Next Pro. But failing that, I think there are plenty of leagues between USL and MLS where Harris could be a very good player. 

Enoch Mushagalusa

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American/Congolese
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 13/11/1999
  • Current Club: Louisville City FC
  • Career: SLCC Bruins, Colorado Rapids U23, Colorado Pride, Sporting Kansas City II, Louisville City FC
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

The thing that stands out the most about Mushagalusa is his dribbling ability. He was a real handful for the NYRBII defenders. He was able to beat players with quick changes of pace and direction, used his body to protect the ball very well, and was able to progress the ball up the field quickly. He won a lot of fouls and was pretty unlucky to not win a penalty.

Mushagalusa is quick and quite strong for his size which makes him hard to stop once he gets going on a dribble. He was not credited with an assist but his play was decisive in creating Louisville’s first goal of the game. However, his game outside of his dribbling will have to improve a little bit if he is going to take the next step. He does do a lot of good work with his dribbling but he lacked a cutting edge in and around the opposition penalty area. True, he was heavily involved in a goal but that was the only chance he created. There was also another incident where he opted to shoot when he could have squared the ball to Harris in a much better position. So decision-making in the final 3rd is definitely an area of improvement. His passing was also a bit limited. He attempted a lot of outside of the boot through balls and not a lot of them worked. There were also a lot of flicks and backheel passes to nobody in particular. 

Rating: A2

Mushagalusa’s game is a bit limited. But his dribbling ability makes him very tantalizing. If he can add more chance creation to his game then he can absolutely take another step. He’s 22 so he still has time to improve, though he will have to take the next step quickly. At Louisville, he will have every chance to do that. 

Ray Serrano

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American 
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 09/05/2002
  • Current Club: Louisville City FC
  • Career: Seattle Sounders 2/Tacoma Defiance, Louisville City FC
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Serrano was making his first start for Louisville after making the switch from the Seattle Sounders’ affiliate team. He showed a lot of technical skill with very good close control and passing ability in tight spaces. He regularly combined with Manny Perez who was making overlapping runs for the right-back position.

He showed some pace as well. However, he sometimes dribbled into trouble or pushed the ball past players and then lost it. He did have some good dribbles but it wasn’t something he was able to do consistently. He scored a goal through some good off-the-ball movement but that was his only really dangerous chance of the game. He had one other shot from long range where he did a good job to get free of a defender with a dribble but his shot was never troubling the goalkeeper.

Serrano took corners and his deliveries were a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes he wouldn’t even clear the first defender but he also set up one really good chance that was not converted. Serrano played a number of balls in behind the NYRBII defence but he wasn’t able to get the weight of his passes right. He came close to putting Harris through on goal on a couple of occasions but he overhit the passes and the opposition goalkeeper was able to intercept them. If he can get the weight of those passes correct more consistently then he will be really dangerous. Serrano is quite small and as a result, he didn’t have very much luck when he contested physical duels. 

Rating: A2

Like Mushagalusa, Serrano is going to have to increase the number of chances he creates in a game if he is going to move up a level. But he has a lot of technical ability and at 19 he has a lot of time to make that jump. It might be a couple of years away but I think he has MLS potential. 

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