LouCity wrapped up their 2018 preseason slate with a 1-1 draw against fellow USL side Saint Louis FC at Arad McCutchan Stadium in Evansville, IN.
The “Boys in Purple” faced an early deficit after a difficult to handle back pass saw a LouCity defender put the ball into the back of his net just three minutes in. However, head coach James O’Connor’s crew got back on the front foot in quick succession as they tested the opposition goal.
Midfielder Richard Ballard and forward Luke Spencer saw a pair of opportunities fall their way, but the closest LouCity came to getting on the board came in the 32nd minute. Gathering the ball in the box, Spencer did well to create space before getting a shot away that ended up on the wrong side of the post. Despite the looks, LouCity trailed 1-0 at the break.
The match opened up more as the second half wore on and both sides nearly capitalized on efforts inside the first ten minutes after the half. Coming on in place of Greg Ranjitsingh, ‘keeper Tim Dobrowolski made an imperative save in the 53rd minute to keep his side in the contest. Stretching to put fingertips on a bullet from STLFC, the third-year netminder pushed the chance off the crossbar.
As the game ebbed and flowed in both directions, LouCity was able to take advantage of a more open contest. In the 72nd minute, they found their goal. Forward Cameron Lancaster entered in place of Luke Spencer at halftime and forced a good save from the STLFC ‘keeper in the run of play. As the opposition goalkeeper spilled the effort, midfielder Niall McCabe was in perfect position to fire home from point-blank range. The goal was McCabe’s third in as many games and put him top the charts as preseason came to a close.
Neither side would find the winner they pushed for in the final 15 minutes, but O’Connor was satisfied with the team’s draw as they prepare to face Nashville SC in the regular season opener on Saturday.
The Key Points:
On tonight’s 1-1 draw:
“We’re obviously disappointed with the goal we gave away; just a lack of concentration. But, overall, I thought we had good control of the game, just thought we needed to show a bit more quality. I mean in the first half we had four shots from good opportunities and certainly one really good opportunity, and they made a huge save. We need to force their ‘keeper to make saves.
I thought we had a decent amount of possession in the second half and scored a goal, but maybe needed to be a little bit sharper and have a little sharper movement and a better understanding. Really good game for us and it gives us some really good things to work on this week, so we’re thankful for Saint Louis for coming and we wish them all the best in their season.”
On defensive stability:
“On their goal, from our standpoint, it’s something we don’t expect to see. But, you take that out of the first half and I thought we played some nice football. We needed to have a little bit better understanding of where space was and then how to attack that space. Our timing of runs and movement we can work on. In regards to the game, it was a great warmup for next week.”
On McCabe’s goalscoring:
“We’re pleased. Niall’s had a great preseason—great attitude, great work ethic, etc. So we’ve been pleased with Niall but with all the guys really. In the end, when you look at the changes we made, in that last 30 minutes they were making changes and our lads were playing against fresher players yet we maintained our level of intensity, which is important. We’ve got a couple of guys we needed to manage minutes-wise to look after them, but we’re pleased.”
On the regular season:
“I think the priority is making sure that we’re ready this week. Monday morning we’ll see who’s okay and who has a couple of niggles. We also rested a few as well just to make sure that we give ourselves every opportunity to have a full squad to select from next Saturday.”
Player Point of View: Tim Dobrowolski
On his saves and the match:
“It’s always good to get in and see some shots, but obviously we wanted to eliminate their chances. But, when they come, we were prepared and I was glad to make the saves. Great to play against former teammates and excited to get after it next weekend.”
On the week:
“Obviously there are things we can take away—positive and negative—so we’ll review the tape and get back to our groove to get pumping for next weekend.”
On the opener:
“It’s always nice to start the season at home in front of our fans. They treated us so well last year and we’re looking forward to giving back to them again.”
Shaun Francis made his first official start as a member of the “Boys in Purple,” going the full 90 minutes.
LouCity 1 : 1 Saint Louis FC
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Arad McCutchan Stadium – Evansville, IN
STL – Own Goal 3’
LOU – Niall McCabe 72’