On Tuesday night, as the Kentucky Men’s Soccer team prepares to take the pitch in a home matchup against the Louisville Cardinals, fans will not only be able to show their support for the Wildcats but also for Abraham Lincoln, our erstwhile president.
Kentucky’s favorite son is set to be featured in many promotions at the Bell Soccer Complex on Tuesday night, as Lincoln’s likeness will find its way onto everything from posters to bobbleheads to even the fans themselves, should they choose to dress like an antebellum American.
Yes, Kentucky is actually encouraging fans to dress like Seinfeld A-plot characters:
The Cats are looking to snap a 2-match losing streak against the Cardinals, who have begun this season looking far more adept than anyone previously thought (they just dispatched #14 Connecticut in Storrs last week).
Kentucky, a team who’s hoping to preserve their top-20 ranking, is fresh off a few starts that varied in quality, from playing astonishingly well against Marquette to battling to a low-scoring draw against Dartmouth, who are perennial Ivy League stars.
Thus far, Kentucky has looked like a solid defensive team, one that has allowed only one goal all season. The goal in question came after a questionable penalty in the box resulted in Dartmouth converting on a 45’ penalty kick. Otherwise, Kentucky has been a squad that has dominated ball possession and continues to show glimpses of its top-notch 2015 defense that was 11th in the country in shutout percentage.
That brilliant defense that has been a hallmark of this Kentucky team is going to be needed on Tuesday against a Louisville squad that has been firing shots at opposing goalkeepers at a rate that makes it seem as if the Cardinals set up a pitching machine inside the 18. (Louisville’s own website makes note of the fact that they have out-shot opponents by a whopping 54-17 margin this season.)
If the Cats are to pull out a victory in Lexington on Tuesday night, they must also ensure that their offense does not stall like it seemingly did against Dartmouth. Kentucky took more shots than they had in previous outings, but they couldn’t get good enough angles to convert.
Not only that, but it seemed as if every time they got close to a finishing kick a Dartmouth defender would swoop in for a tackle. This futility became especially evident when it came to set pieces, as the Cats couldn’t convert on any of the 11 corner kicks they took.
Louisville is going to come ready to play and pumped up after beating a highly-ranked UConn team. They look a lot better than initially anticipated, and it’s clear that Kentucky will have its work cut out for them if they’re going to improve to 3-0-1 on the year.
Hopefully the Cats can take some advice from a letter that Abe Lincoln, the man being honored on Tuesday, wrote to Major General Joseph Hooker and conquer this rivalry game “with energy, and sleepless vigilance,” while they “go forward, and give us victories.”