Photo by: EM Dash Photography
SECOND-HALF strikes from midfielders George Davis IV and Brian Ownby earned Louisville City a morale-building, 2-1 home win over a tough Charlotte Independence side at a rain-soaked Slugger Field on Saturday night.
Davis’ 57th minute goal was cancelled out with an Independence equalizer in the 66th minute from Caleb Calvert, however, LouCity displayed tenacity fighting back with Ownby’s gritty 77th minute rebounded effort to take the lead, and eventually the three points for the home team.
“Obviously really pleased,” said Coach James O’Connor, relived to be back at Slugger after a challenging three-match, road-stretch. “I thought fantastic perseverance, fantastic character from the guys tonight. I thought there were periods in the game where we played some really nice football. So obviously delighted to get the win.”
Louisville’s penultimate regular season match in front of 7,537 on a drizzly night at Slugger, was somewhat spoiled with a flurry of nine yellow cards, six in the first half alone, in a physical and, at times, ill-tempered battle between the first and third-ranked clubs in the USL’s Eastern Conference. City had already claimed home field advantage throughout the upcoming USL Playoffs, but Charlotte were still chasing their own opportunity to host a first-round match on level points with Charleston Battery.
O’Connor could have been forgiven for ordering his charges to dial back the intensity, however, the fiery Irish playcaller took the opposite approach, looking for his players to re-establish their mid-season momentum, making for a physical battle between the teams.
There were moments of fine soccer also, particularly from Louisville’s back four who kept Charlotte at bay defending a slew of free kicks and corners during a hard-pressed five minute period in the first half.
City came out for the second half ready to play, netting their first goal when Niall McCabe found Davis, who, after a pinball sequence against defenders, sent it over the line to give LouCity the 1-0 lead.
Charlotte were not going down without a fight, with Calvert latching on to the ball on a break-away play before sending a shot over the glove of LouCity keeper Tim Dobrowolski to net an equalizer for the Independence.
Just over 10 minutes later, LouCity found the winning goal. In what started as a fast break, Man of the Match, Ownby, sent a pass over to Luke Spencer, who couldn’t get to it in time to strike. McCabe jumped on the deflection and bounced the ball off a defender which Ownby latched on to, to drive home his match-winning strike.
Louisville City will face the Richmond Kickers next Saturday, October 14th at Slugger Field for their final regular season home match of 2017 at 7:30 p.m. before hosting a first round USL Playoff match on October 20th at 7:30pm.
Match: Louisville City FC vs Charlotte Independence
Date: October 7, 2017
Venue: Louisville Slugger Field | Louisville, KY
Kickoff: 7:35 pm
Weather: 77 degrees, cloudy with a chance of rain
Man of the Match: Brian Ownby
Louisville City FC (0,2,2)
Charlotte Independence (0,1,1)
57’ – George Davis IV recorded the first goal of the night on an assist from Niall McCabe.
77’ – Brian Ownby took the lead after slipping one past the Charlotte goalkeeper.
66’ – Caleb Calvert answered with a strike from the right side of the box to the upper left corner on a breakaway
Louisville City starting lineup: 28 Tim Dobrowolski, 24 Kyle Smith, 4 Sean Totsch, 18 Paco Craig, 6 Tarek Morad, 19 Oscar Jimenez, 36 Paolo DelPiccolo (15 Sean Reynolds – 90’+2), 8 Guy Abend, 22 George Davis IV (10 Brian Ownby – 61’), 12 Luke Spencer, 11 Niall McCabe (23 Richard Ballard – 75’)
Louisville City subs: 13 Micah Bledsoe, 9 Cameron Lancaster
Head coach: James O’Connor
Charlotte Independence starting lineup: 1 Cody Mizell, 3 Bilal Duckett, 13 Austin Yearwood (17 David Spies – 80’), 22 Joel Johnson, 25 Henry Kalungi, 5 Callum Ross, 14 Lewis Hilton, 23 Alex Martinez, 32 Jaime Siaj (11 David Estrada – 75’), 10 Jorge Herrera (8 Caleb Calvert – 63’), 19 Enzo Martinez
Charlotte Independence subs: 12 Kainoa Likewise, 6 Juan Marques Davidson, 7 Yann Ekra, 26 Dennis Castillo
Head coach: Mike Jeffries
Louisville City FC:
19’ – Guy Abend, yellow
23’ – Sean Totsch, yellow
29’ – Kyle Smith, yellow
37’ – George Davis IV, yellow
52’ – Paco Craig, yellow
90’+1 – Brian Ownby, yellow
23’ – Jaime Siaj, yellow
42’ – Lewis Hilton, yellow
82’ – David Spies, yellow
Louisville City FC/Charlotte Independence
Shots on target: 2/3
Possession (%): 56.1/43.9
Referee: LUKAS SZPALA
Assistant referee 1: Cory Richardson
Assistant referee 2: Johann Pedolzky
4th official: Dean Morgan