Louisville City FC stayed unbeaten at home after a 2-1 win over Atlanta United FC 2 in front of over 8,600 on Saturday night at Slugger Field! A goal from forward Cameron Lancaster in the first half made it five on the year for him, while a stoppage-time penalty from Ilija Ilic earned the three points.
Coach James O'Connor made just one change from the team that fell 2-0 to Nashville SC last week, swapping in George Davis IV for Brian Ownby.
City came out on the offensive, creating a few chances that ATL2 'keeper Paul Christenson was equal to in the opening minutes. Eventually forcing their way through, forward Cameron Lancaster settled a deflected pass in the box and produced a calm finish to put City in front, 1-0, after 24 minutes.
ATL2 was quick to respond with a goal of their own in the 31st minute, but City 'keeper Greg Ranjitsingh produced a pair of remarkable saves to keep the score level heading into halftime.
Into the second half, City continued to pile pressure on the Atlanta goal as attacking subs Luke Spencer, Ilija Ilic, and Magnus Rasmussen all looked to make an impact off the bench. Approaching stoppage time, a golden chance for Spencer came in off a cross from defender Oscar Jimenez but the forward was only able to head down in testing Christensen.
However, one minute into stoppage time, LouCity earned a crucial penalty that saw defender Shawn Nicklaw enter the referee's book. Stepping up, Ilic buried the spot kick from 12 yards out to put his side in front for good and seal a 2-1 win.
The Key Points:
On getting back into the win column:
“Very pleased. I thought we kept going and kept going and kept going. I thought second half especially we had a number of chances and we felt as though we all deserved to win the game. I thought they put up a great fight, I thought they really did. I thought they made it very difficult for us, but I think we can be pleased with the intensity and the performance from the guys tonight.”
On heavy legs on the team:
“Lots of really heavy legs. I think that’s why it was so important. I think for us it’s difficult. We’ve gone from rain and a little bit of cold to now all of a sudden, we’ve got hot and humid in the blink of an eye. And the hot and humidity has come when we’ve got three games in whatever it is, six days and then we’ve got another one Wednesday. We try to manage that and that’s why the players deserve enormous credit. There are a few that have played all three games and have to really dig deep and really push through in tough conditions.
On Cameron Lancaster’s confidence:
“I think it’s fantastic. I think he’s got tremendous quality. I think when you look at even his finish tonight first half and free kick, (Cameron Lancaster)’s capable of scoring from 30, 35 yards out as he is from 10. So, I think when you look at (Cameron Lancaster), when you look at Ilija Ilic) coming on, Luke (Spencer) getting the penalty coming in, I think we’re really blessed with those three guys. Again, I thought Magnus (Rasmussen) when he came on, (Ilija Ilic), the substitutes made an impact. And I think for us, it’s trying to make sure everyone who’s participating is maximizing the opportunity, and that’s something that they all did really, really well tonight. They left everything out there. They kept fighting, kept pushing, kept going, so it’s great for us.”
On Ilija taking the penalty:
“(Ilija Ilic) wanted to take it. I think for us, obviously Kyle (Smith) missed the other night. Kyle and Ilija are both excellent penalty takers. I have great confidence in all the guys. I’m just delighted to see them step up and score.”
On making three offensive substitutions:
“Yeah, I think for us we’re desperate to win every game. So, I think we felt as if we had good control. Just thought we needed a little bit more quality as we started to tire. I think it became evident with some of our passing at times it looked like some of our lads had gotten really heavy legs. And that’s why I think the boys deserve enormous credit to keep going and pin them in the way we did in the second half. Really keep fighting and keep pushing and not just accept the draw. I think that’s something for most teams they’d be happy with, say ‘oh we’ll take it. It’s not our night tonight.’ No, we kept going and pushing and kept driving and that was fantastic to see from all the guys tonight.”
On Wednesday’s meeting with Saint Louis FC:
“I think it’ll be nice to see the lads. I think for them, they obviously had a great win midweek up in Minnesota and obviously had no game today. I’m sure they’ll be rested and relaxed. They’re probably on the beach resting, getting ready for Wednesday. They’re great people over there. I have to say, Anthony (Pulis) is someone I have tremendous respect for. Sean (Reynolds) and Kadeem (Dacres) are two great guys. It’ll be lovely to see them. We always enjoy seeing our old players because they mean so much to us even though they’re at different clubs and Anthony’s been a great friend of mine. I played with Anthony (Pulis) during our time together in Orlando and obviously played for his dad. There’s people there I have a lot of respect for.”
Player Point of View: Ilija Ilic
On a busy week:
“Yeah, busy week for everyone trying to rotate the squad, try to keep everyone 100 percent so yeah, busy week.”
On frustration up until the penalty:
“That’s the one thing that separates us from teams from previous years. We don’t get that goal, but we still keep going, we’re still chasing that goal and sometimes you get rewarded and sometimes you don’t. Tonight we got rewarded.”
On the importance of getting back to winning ways in USL:
“Sometimes we say, ‘We don’t get nervous’ but yeah, we still feel pressure when that happens. You don’t want to stay on that losing side. You want to win that game. Sometimes its really heard to bounce back on the winning side, so it felt really good to get back tonight.”
On Cameron Lancaster’s confidence:
“I’ve been playing with [Cameron Lancaster] for four years now. I’ll say this: I’ve never seen him playing like this. This is the best football he’s ever been playing. He’s confident, he feels good about himself so he’s going until the end of the season.”
On the PK decision:
“So Kyle [Smith] missed the last penalty, so we had a meeting about that. No one doubted him and no one made him feel bad, we just said whoever is most confident at the time should take the penalty. I told Kyle I felt really confident and to please let me take the penalty and he said ‘Okay’ so there you go.”
On sticking it high:
On Wednesday’s Open Cup clash with Saint Louis FC and seeing Sean Reynolds again:
“Sean Reynolds and another guy from my college team Lewis Hilton. We’re looking forward to playing them. They’re a good team and they have been playing good football. It’s going to be a hard game for us and we give them a lot of credit so it will be a fun game to watch. I’d like to invite them to come out to Lynn Stadium.”
On playing at Lynn Stadium:
“That was actually my second time. Last week I said to media, ‘I love playing on a real football field’.”
OUT - Richard Ballard (stress fracture)
OUT - Shaun Francis (hamstring)
OUT - Brian Ownby (leg)
Louisville City FC 2 : 1 Atlanta United FC 2
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Slugger Field | Louisville, KY
80 degrees / sunny
LOU - Cameron Lancaster 24'
ATL - Laurent Kiessiedov (Lagos Kunga) 31'
LOU - Ilija Ilic (p) 90+1'
ATL - Laurent Kiessiedov 69'
ATL - Jose Carranza 72'
LOU - Paco Craig 80'
LOU - Alexis Souahy 85'
ATL - Shawn Nicklaw 90'
ATL - Jon Gallagher 90+2'
Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Greg Ranjitsingh (GK); Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Paco Craig, Alexis Souahy; Paolo DelPiccolo (c); Kyle Smith, Devon "Speedy" Williams, Niall McCabe (Ilija Ilic 68'), George Davis IV (Luke Spencer 53'); Cameron Lancaster (Magnus Rasmussen 73')
Subs: Tim Dobrowolski, Chris Hubbard, Pat McMahon