Louisville, KY. – Eyes all across the USL Championship will be on Lynn Family Stadium as Memphis 901 FC faces Louisville City FC on Saturday night.
The Beale St. Boys carry arguably the most momentum of any team of the league with a franchise record eight-match unbeaten streak, five-match road unbeaten streak and four match win streak to show after a rough start to the 2023 season. 901 FC can match the franchise record for consecutive wins with a three-point result on Saturday.
Any doubt on 901 FC’s run of form was laid to rest in a dominant 5-1 victory over Miami FC last time out. The comprehensive performance featured goals from five different players in a tweaked lineup with regular starters unavailable, including the club’s leading goal scorer Luiz Fernando.
Among the goalscorers leading the dangerous attack were Aaron Molloy and Nighte Pickering, who trails Fernando with three goals this season after his chip of the keeper on Saturday. The top of Memphis’ attack leads the league in multiple offensive metrics, including shots and goals per match and will be hunting a Louisville club they drew 1-1 earlier this season.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s a nice stadium we’re going to play in and a team that’s always at the top end. We know what we’re going into but equally I think they know what’s coming.”
Last time 901 FC did battle in the Bluegrass state came down to the death with a 2-1 Memphis victory thanks to a stoppage time goal from Graham Smith.
Louisville is coming off of a scoreless draw at Hartford Athletic with Brian Ownby scoring in the 29th minute.
Fans can watch the match set for 7 p.m. CT on ESPN+ and WMC Action News 5 Plus locally.
“We’ve proven that we’re not one dimensional. We’re not reliant on one particular person to score for us. We’ve shown we can score from set pieces, breakways, cutback, crosses, individual brilliance. I think when you’ve got a group of players that can score from different situations, you;ve got a good team. The main part is they keep working as a group. Saturday night we go into a stadium where we know what we’re walking into. They‘re also aware of what a Memphis team brings and we need to make sure that we do that.” – Stephen Glass
“We’ve played them enough and played them a few weeks ago so we know they’re a good team. We know we have to be clicking to beat them. It’s never easy but it’s a fun game to go play at their stadium. I know all the boys are really looking forward to it.” – Jeremy Kelly
“We understand the big challenge we have this weekend with a good team that has good results at home. We’re ready for this challenge and looking forward to it.” – Bruno Lapa
On the Come Up
After two losses at home to start the season, Memphis 901 FC is undefeated in their last eight USL Championship matches with four wins, three draws and a +11 goal differential in that time span. The run is the longest unbeaten streak in club history.
Memphis is climbing up the Eastern Conference table with 18 points at No. 5 and at least two games in hand over each of the top-5 clubs in the table.
Memphis 901 FC is one of only three clubs without a loss away from home with a 3-0-1 record on the road this season. The Beale St. Boys suffered only three losses in their 17 matches away from AutoZone Park in the 2022 season and carry a five-match road unbeaten streak into Saturday’s fixture.
Debut for da Costa
Versatile veteran Rodrigo da Costa made his debut for Memphis in Saturday’s match after the midseason acquisition. The Brazilian has already scored three goals and an assist in 10 matches this season and adds his scoring and distribution to an already strong attack.
With over 10,000 career minutes in five seasons of USL competition, da Costa holds Tulsa’s all-time franchise records with 36 goals and 26 assists making starts in multiple positions from center forward to winger. Da Costa recorded nine goals and four assists in 2022 while appearing in all but one match for FC Tulsa with 30 starts.
The Ultimate Wingman
Winger Luiz Fernando has been a key piece in the eight-match unbeaten streak with four goals and two assists during the club’s run. Fernando put away two goals in the win over Colorado Springs to earn USL Championship Player of the Week after adding game-winning assists vs. Atlanta and Hartford.
The Brazilian winger scored four goals and six assists in 30 appearances in 2022.
Chances on Chances on Chances
Memphis now has two of the top creators in the league in Aaron Molloy and Rodrigo da Costa. Molloy leads the USL Championship in chances created serving as the primary kick taker and captain on the pitch in the absence of Leston Paul due to injury.
Da Costa joins the Beale St. Boys in the midfield trailing on Molloy and Tampa Bay’s Charlie Dennis in chances created this season.
Chances Created Leaderboard:
- Aaron Molloy – 36
- Charlie Dennis – 35
- Rodrigo da Costa – 29
The Kid is Cooking
Nighte Pickering has proven himself to be a dangerous presence near opposition final thirds. The 18-year-old striker has contributed to four goals his last three starts. Pickering has put away three goals and two assists in USL competition along with his game-winning goal in the U.S. Open Cup victory over Atlanta United.
Pickering scored two goals in seven appearances in 2022, including a bicycle kick goal on debut, before being called up to the U.S. U-19 Youth National Team in the offseason.
Memphis leads the USL Championship in shots per 90 minutes and expected goals per match (2.00). The high powered offense is top-5 in final third entries and is the only club in the USL Championship to score a goal in every single regular season match this season.
Shots per 90 Leaderboard:
- Memphis – 15.40
- El Paso – 13.75
- San Antonio – 13.69