Memphis 901 FC falls 4-1 on the road in Louisville.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.— The Memphis 901 FC were unable to overcome the early 2 goal deficit and fell 4-1 on the road to Louisville City FC. 

LCFC outshot Memphis 15-7, with 10 of the home side’s strikes coming inside the 901 FC’s box. Memphis (2-7-4) remains 4th in Group G with 10 points. Louisville (9-3-2) remains atop Group E with 29 points 

A mere four days after Memphis 901 FC dismissed head coach Tim Mulqueen, interim head coach Ben Pirmann faced a tough test in Group E leaders Louisville. The former assistant coach at Michigan State University did not take a conservative approach to his first match at the helm.

Most interim head coaches typically stick to their predecessor’s tactics and make a few changes in the starting XI. Pirmann added his touch while still adhering to some of Mulqueen’s philosophies.

Cal Jennings started as the lone striker with Keanu Marsh-Brown underneath in more of a creative role. Jean-Christophe Koffi,, Leston Paul and Tommy McCabe, all defensively capable players, anchored the midfield. 

Marc Burch, Micael Reed and Zach Carrol made up the back three with Rece Buckmaster and Mark Segbers on the flanks. Pirmann’s setup allowed Memphis to press Louisville past midfield, but the backline played high up the field which allowed Louisville to break out quickly with Memphis tracking back.

LCFC’s Cameron Lancaster intercepted a wayward pass from Koffi at midfield before playing Brian Ownby into space on the left wing. Ownby was not pressured until he reached the top of the box which allowed the forward to slide a lateral pass into Lancaster’s trailing run.

Lancaster fired a first time shot into the bottom left corner to pull his side ahead. The goal marked the Englishman’s 8th of the season. Less than 10 minutes after conceding the first goal Memphis lost possession once more in the midfield, after pressing Louisville high.

Lancaster sent another through ball into Ownby’s run on the right wing and the veteran capped off the sequence in style. Reed marked Ownby on top of the box, but the forward created enough space to send a curled left footed effort past Jimmy Hague and into the top left corner. 

Despite the 2-goal deficit Memphis’s game plan was hardly altered. LCFC threatened to score a 3rd as the 901 FC searched for an outlet back into the match. Jennings provided that outlet minutes prior to the halftime whistle.

Marsh-Brown collected the ball on the left side of the box before dribbling into space and forcing a diving save from Benjamin Lundt. Jennings, waiting at the doorstep, whipped the rebound past Lundt and into the net.

The goal, his 4th of the season, pulled the forward into the lead as the 901 FC’s top goal scorer. Early into the second half Memphis fired the first blow. Reed, on the left, played a teasing cross into the back post.

Marsh-Brown met the cross with a headed effort that bounced up and out of play off the top corner. Pirmann made a triple change in the 58th minute to add more creativity into the match.

Jose Baxter replaced Koffi, Raul Gonzalez III replaced Segbers and Jennings was swapped for Rafael Mentzingen. Louisville’s press made it difficult for Memphis to create any attempts on goal.

Their press also resulted in a third goal for the home side. Memphis lost possession in Louisville’s half and Oscar Jimenez sparked the counter. Antoine Hoppenot received Jimenez’s pass on the right flank before sliding a low cross into the 901 FC’s box.

Hague failed to control the cross and Lancaster with his back towards goal, lashed a back-heel strike from 3 yards into the net. Ownby nearly made it 4-1 after Hague mistimed his kick and left the goal gaping. 

Buckmaster sprinted back and made a sliding challenge to thwart the goal. In the 84th, Louisville made no mistake in netting their 4th. 

On the break, Luke Spencer found the trailing run of Corben Bone and the midfielder scored from close range for his 5th of the season. The match concluded 4-1 as Memphis accrued their 7th loss of the season. 

The Charlotte Independence edged out a 1-0 win over North Carolina FC, earlier in the night to bring their points total to 23. With three matches remaining in the season Memphis mathematically has no chance of reaching the 2nd place Independence.

The ‘boys in blue’ return home for their next match against NCFC.  Kickoff is set for 7 P.M.  Wednesday, September 23 at AutoZone Park

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