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Louisville City FC’s players are done having to answer the most pressing question from the last month: Where are the goals?
"The stats speak for themselves,” forward Cameron Lancaster said Saturday night after he registered a brace and LouCity secured a second consecutive 3-0 win, this one over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Slugger Field.
Through the last four games, the boys in purple have tallied 11 goals as their climb up the USL Eastern Conference standings continues. Combine that with a defense that has put forth three straight shutouts, and LouCity appears a strong contender past the one-third mark of the season.
“This team can score goals,” said midfielder Niall McCabe. “It’s not a worry for us. We know we’ve got players that will cause people problems whoever we play. It doesn’t really matter. We know we’ve got the players that will cause some trouble.”
In addition to Lancaster’s two strikes Saturday, McCabe scored his first goal of the season on an assist from Richard Ballard, another breakout star for the offense.
Ballard, the rookie from Louisville, notched goals in LouCity’s two previous games. Going back to a June 3 draw at league-leading Charleston, he also put in a cross that resulted in an own goal by the Battery on the way to a 4-4 result.
“Richie’s been class,” Ownby said. “This year he’s been awesome. He’s brought that spark either if he’s starting or he's coming off the bench. Obviously, the past two games he’s been coming off the bench and he's provided a goal and an assist. We can't ask for anything more. He’s very deadly taking people on 1 v 1.”
LouCity’s also added to its attack with a tweak in formation, rotating between coach James O’Connor’s regular 4-2-3-1 and a 3-4-3, in which outside backs Oscar Jimenez (left) and Kyle Smith (right) push farther up the field. Smith had both a goal and assist last week against the New York Red Bulls II, and Jimenez put a threatening shot on target against the Riverhounds.
O’Connor didn’t credit a different formation, so much as a new way to the same approach in tactics.
“I tend to look more at trying to create opportunities,” the coach said. “I’m not massive on labels of formations. It’s more, for me, trying to get people in good areas and give them options on the ball.”
Lately, LouCity's players have had plenty of them.