EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Standing outside the locker room Saturday at the University of Evansville's Arad McCutchan Stadium, Louisville City FC midfielder George Davis IV confirmed that "we're ready to go."
A 1-1 final scoreline didn’t tell the full story of LouCity’s final preseason test, a full 90-minutes against North American Soccer League opponent Indy Eleven. The boys in purple controlled possession and led most of the second half before a highlight strike by Nemanja Vukovic knotted the score in stoppage time.
“I thought our performance was really good tonight,” said LouCity assistant coach Daniel Byrd, speaking with head coach James O’Connor under the weather. “I thought we controlled the majority of the game — created multiple chances — but we have to take our chances. When we have as much possession as we did, we have to score more than one goal.
“Credit to Indy. They ended up pulling out a fantastic goal at the end. But we should have put the game away earlier.”
LouCity built on a win over NCAA Division II Young Harris College and a tight defeat to Division I Lipscomb ahead of its United Soccer League opener. The boys in purple kick off their 2017 regular season March 25 against rival Saint Louis FC at Slugger Field.
They’ll carry in some confidence after Saturday’s outing. Most of the game was spent in the Indy Eleven’s half of the field. Though official statistics weren’t recorded, LouCity out-shot its opposition with a flurry of opportunities leading to its goal.
Rookie Richard Ballard, the Indiana University product and Louisville native, earned a penalty by maneuvering into before tripped on the left side. Forward Cameron Lancaster struck a goal past Indy’s keeper that pushed LouCity out front in the 52nd minute.
“I thought we played well,” Davis IV said. “There’s still things we can be better at — taking our chances, and be a little bit better at managing the game there toward the end. Overall, I felt good out there. I know the boys were real positive in the locker room."
The Eleven played from behind through the 90th minute, until Vukovic recovered a loose ball on the left side and blasted a shot into the upper corner of the net.
The goal offset a big day by LouCity’s attack, which included headers on goal by midfielder Brian Ownby and Lancaster, as well as a Lancaster free kick in the 37th minute that needed a touch from the keeper to go off the crossbar.
Now it’s on to the games that count.
“When you dominate a game as we feel we did and not get a result, it’s kind of tough to take,” Davis IV said. “Now going into training this week, we know how good we are, but we have to fine tune, make sure we’re taking our chances and put the game away.”
Match: Louisville City FC vs. Indy Eleven
Date: March 18, 2017
Venue: Arad McCutchan Stadium
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, 50 degrees
Louisville City FC (0, 1, 1)
Indy Eleven (0, 1, 1)