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A month ago, Louisville City FC scored a seventh-minute goal against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and relied on defense late to salvage a win. The club showed Saturday night just how far it has come since then.
This time, LouCity opened scoring in the eighth minute and continued pouring on the pressure late in the return game against the Riverhounds, going on to win 3-0 in front of 8,741 fans at Louisville Slugger Field.
Cameron Lancaster recorded the team's first brace of the year, and Niall McCabe scored his first goal of the season. The victory moved LouCity to second place on the USL Eastern Conference table, three points behind the Charleston Battery with multiple games in hand.
"When you look at the quality, the intensity of their play in that heat, I mean hats off," said coach James O'Connor. "I think the character and the mental toughness of the lads has been excellent, so long may that continue.”
LouCity controlled 59.6 percent of possession, out-shot the Riverhounds by a 22-6 margin and allowed just one shot on goal all night. In addition to goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh's one save, midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo twice deflected away chances on a Pittsburgh free kick in the 12th minute.
By then, Lancaster had already moved LouCity in front by curling a set piece of his own over the wall and into the upper-left the Riverhounds' goal.
"Any free kick in that position, you've got to go across the keeper and just try to dip it over the wall -- try to make the keeper make the save," Lancaster said. "Thankfully the contact was good. The positioning was good. I just put it in the top corner."
The lead doubled in the 64th minute when Brian Ownby, playing along the left wing, reached the end line and passed into the box for Lancaster's quick shot. The finisher hit the back of the net in the 74th minute when Richard Ballard, the other winger, passed in to Niall McCabe.
Going back to last Sunday, LouCity has posted back-to-back 3-0 results, with the other against defending USL champion New York Red Bulls II. The club has reeled off three straight wins in all and is unbeaten at Slugger Field over its last 12 games dating back to the 2016 season.
"Yeah, two-nil is a really dangerous score line," McCabe said. "If they get a goal, it puts us under real pressure. It’s always kind of a dangerous score to come into. You want to be good on the ball and obviously keep the ball for the team and help the team as much as you can. Thankfully, I could do that and see out the win."
Lancaster had another chance to score in the 19th minute with a shot on goal, and defender Tarek Morad lasered a header off a corner kick on target in the 23rd. The club capitalized on its opportunities in the second half to remain in good form heading into next week's trip to play the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Game time is 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, with coverage on WBNA TV-21 and NewsRadio 840 WHAS.
Match: Louisville City FC v. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Date: June 17, 2017
Venue: Slugger Field
Kickoff: 7:35 p.m.
Weather: 88 degrees, sunny
Man of the Match: Cameron Lancaster
Louisville City FC (1,2,3)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (0,0,0)
Louisville City FC:
8’ Cameron Lancaster struck one in from a free kick straightaway.
64’ On an assist from Brian Ownby, Cameron Lancaster knocked in his second goal.
78’ Niall McCabe blasted in a goal to the bottom left corner from Richard Ballard.
Louisville City FC: 1- Greg Ranjitsingh 24- Kyle Smith, 4- Sean Totsch, 19- Oscar Jimenez, 6- Tarek Morad 8- Guy Abend, 10- Brian Ownby (23- Richard Ballard), 18- Paco Craig, 22- George Davis IV (11- Niall McCabe), 9- Cameron Lancaster (14- Ilija Ilic), 36- Paolo DelPiccolo
Subs not used: 28- Tim Dobrowolski, 15- Sean Reynolds, 7- Mark-Anthony Kaye, 80- Devon “Speedy” Williams
Head coach: James O’Connor
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 30- Trey Mitchell, 21- Ben Fitzpatrick, 4- Taylor Washington, 20- Jamal Jack, 27- Gale Agbossoumonde, 7- Stephen Okai (8- Mike Green), 25- Marshall Hollingsworth (17- Kenroy Howell), 10- Kevin Kerr, 3- Jack Thompson (9- Chevaughn Walsh), 11- Corey Hertzog, 36- Romeo Parkes
Subs not used: 1- Keasel Broome, 22- Tobi Adewole, 14- Nick Thompson
Head coach: Dave Brandt
Louisville City FC:
35’ George Davis IV – Yellow Card
36’ Jamal Jack – Yellow Card
71’ Taylor Washington – Yellow Card
Referee: Bardhyl Pashaj
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Terry
4th Official: Chad Collins