ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Louisville City FC controlled possession and the stat sheet throughout most of Wednesday night’s preseason game against NCAA Division I Lipscomb University. The boys in purple, however, never took hold of the scoreboard in front of a standing room-only crowd at the Elizabethtown Sports Park.
After a save and deflection, Lipscomb forward Ivan Sakou scored on a rebound in the 74th minute, marking the only goal in a 1-0 victory — even as LouCity out-shot the Bisons 17-4.
“When you have that amount of possession and that many shots, you should score,” said LouCity coach James O’Connor. “And equally, we gave up a poor goal there at the end. People thought I was daft saying we need to come in — we’ve got things to work on. There’s a bit of stuff there where I don’t like what I’m seeing.
“…You can break it down and go on about things, but I expect to win these games. We should have won tonight.”
Before a number of substitutes came on out of halftime, LouCity saw its share of opportunities. Newcomer forward Luke Spencer attempted both shots on goal, including a near tap-in after midfielder Niall McCabe rocketed a shot off the bar. Lipscomb’s goalkeeper came up big in every moment.
The same applied during the final 45 minutes. Richard Ballard had a breakaway chance, but redshirt sophomore Christopher Zappla was there to make the save, just as when Cameron Lancaster bent a free kick between the posts in the 56th minute.
“We needed to come out a lot harder,” said Ballard, the Louisville native entering his rookie season. “Credit to them for taking it to us and pressing. We kind of laid back and took our time. That led to some sloppy passes and a lot of unforced turnovers. Definitely, (we need to) step it up next time and finish our chances. We had lots of chances to put this game away.”
LouCity entered Wednesday’s game off a 3-1 preseason victory over NCAA Division II Young Harris College. That game was played behind closed doors at the club’s training ground, whereas the first public showing saw hundreds pack the stands about 45 miles south of Slugger Field, LouCity’s normal home pitch.
“I think it’s important that we sort of not just stay in Louisville — that we touch the outskirts and we make that awareness that people know there’s a pro soccer team in town,” O’Connor said. “I think it’s a bit of an eye opener for us, to be honest, to see that many people here on a Wednesday night.”
One preseason test remains before the United Soccer League season opener. LouCity will travel March 18 to Evansville, Ind., to meet North American Soccer League side Indy Eleven.
Match: Louisville City FC vs. Lipscomb University
Date: March 8, 2017
Venue: Elizabethtown Sports Park
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m.
Weather: Clear, 53 degrees
Louisville City FC (0, 0, 0)
Lipscomb (0, 1, 1)