Louisville City FC beat Richmond Kickers, 2-1, thanks to a penalty in the second half from Kyle Smith and a stoppage-time winner from George Davis IV!
The win sees LouCity collect the maximum amount of points through four games (12), eclipsing a club record (10) set last season. The goals were the first of the year for both Smith and Davis IV.
LouCity head coach James O'Connor made two changes to the starting XI that beat FC Cincinnati, 0-1, last Saturday. Defender Pat McMahon and midfielder George Davis IV were replaced by Shaun Francis and Niall McCabe.
The "Boys in Purple" were the first to knock on the door in the 12th minute, when all three of Niall McCabe, Oscar Jimenez, and Cameron Lancaster combined around the penalty area, only for Lancaster to be dispossessed at the crucial moment.
Against the run of play, the visitors would take the lead in the 18th minute through attacker Brian Shriver. Midfielder Raul Gonzalez played a pass forward for Shriver, who latched on and clipped a neat effort past Ranjitsingh to break the deadlock.
LouCity's best chance in the opening half came in the 36th minute, stemming from a beautiful pass from the captain Paolo DelPiccolo. Chipping a ball over the backline, Lancaster sprinted to chase down the ball only to win a corner on a flash shot at Kickers' 'keeper Trevor Spangenberg. At the half, O'Connor's crew trailed, 0-1.
The deficit inspired a quick start to the second half for the "Boys in Purple," and just five minutes in, Oscar Jimenez started pulling the strings again. The midfielder broke past the last line of defense and fired a powerful effort at Spangenberg, but the rifled shot would land wide and hit the side netting.
Just before the hour mark, LouCity fans saw Brian Ownby enter the fray for the first time and his impact was immediate. Two minutes into his time on the pitch, Ownby collected a pass and flung an effort at goal but saw it land just over the crossbar.
The course of the match changed in the 64th minute, though, when LouCity was awarded a penalty won by forward Cameron Lancaster. Stepping up to the spot, Kyle Smith sent Spangenberg the wrong way to convert and level the score.
As chances piled up for the hosts towards the closing stages, the "Boys in Purple" got a crucial goal from George Davis IV mere seconds into stoppage time. Substitute forward Ilija Ilic rolled a ball through to the left flank where Davis IV's cutting run saw him angle in perfect position. Taking a touch to settle, Davis IV powered a rocket to the far post past Spangenberg to ultimately seal a 2-1 win during Black Out Night at Slugger Field.
The win sees LouCity set a new club record for most points accrued through their opening four matches (12) and most consecutive wins to start the season (4).
Next time out, LouCity flies south to face Atlanta United FC 2 at Coolray Field. The match is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET.
The Key Points:
On performance in the second half:
“Excellent. I thought we were really unfortunate to be losing, to be honest. First half we were in complete control under attack. Kyle (Smith) unfortunately slips on the turf but has a really good finish, skips up off the turf. It was a very good play and very good goal. In the first half, I feel like we were counted there. We had some chances first half not to get one there, but the players showed tremendous belief. Second half- all in all, I think we put a good performance forward and I felt we deserved the three points.”
On the halftime message to the team:
“Yeah, I mean staying patient. And I think composure. But also just trying to capitalize on areas that I think we could do better in. I think we were back in it in the second half. Again, immensely proud of their efforts and their desire to keep going and keep going and keep going and not just accept when the first goal goes in, but there’s even more drive to try and go on and win the game. Great credit to the guys to come on and win the game. It’s great to see guys come out and do that. And it shows how together this group is.”
On the best start in club history:
“I think the togetherness, the character of the guys. I think their work rate. All in all, when you look at what the lads have had to get through- we’ve had the training grounds being flooded, so to actually wanting to go out and play I can’t speak highly enough about the players. And really I think they deserve enormous credit for the way they’ve conducted themselves and how they perform.”
On Ownby’s return:
“Yeah, Brian’s (Ownby) had to be patient. He’s had to manage Brian even this week, he’s got an issue with his groin, strains to the hamstrings. We’ve obviously got to try and manage the guys. We’ve done that since the preseason, just being patient. He’s only played 45 minutes in the preseason. You still have to try and manage Brian (Ownby), and use our experience that he naturally just wants to go and start here again and play because he’s desperate to be successful. He’s someone who again makes an impact whether he starts or whether he comes on, he’s got tremendous pace. I thought he went on and did a great job for us. George (Davis IV) also made a big impact. He helped us, slipped George in. I think the intensity that we got from the players really helped drive the team. It was important for us.”
OUT - Richard Ballard (stress fracture)
Louisville City FC 2 : 1 Richmond Kickers
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Slugger Field - Louisville, KY
60 degrees / overcast
RIC - Brian Shriver (Raul Gonzalez) 18'
LOU - Kyle Smith (p) 65'
LOU - George Davis IV (Ilija Ilic) 90+1'
RIC - Heviel Cordoves 66'
Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Greg Ranjitsingh (GK); Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Paco Craig, Shaun Francis (George Davis IV 75'); Paolo DelPiccolo (c); Devon "Speedy" Williams, Kyle Smith, Niall McCabe (Ilija Ilic 69'), Magnus Rasmussen (Brian Ownby 55'); Cameron Lancaster
Bench: Tim Dobrowolski, Alexis Souahy, Chris Hubbard