Louisville City FC battled through heat and humidity to earn a point in a scoreless draw with Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman Stadium on Saturday night.
Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh and the team kept their fifth clean sheet of the season, more than tied for the third-most in the Eastern Conference. The draw sees City move into first place with two games in hand, with second place FC Cincinnati playing on Saturday night.
Making just one change from the team that won 0-2 in Cincinnati at the end of May, coach James O’Connor opted for midfielder Niall McCabe in place of Magnus Rasmussen. Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh was brought back in for Tim Dobrowolski, who took charge in City’s 3-2 win over the New England Revolution in midweek Open Cup action.
Six minutes in, Ranjitsingh was called into action for the first time of a few chances for Steel FC over the 90 minutes. Steel FC forward Chris Nanco broke in behind City’s defense but was ultimately denied by Ranjitsingh, who was quick off his line to keep the score level.
Minutes later, it was the visitors’ turn to go at goal, this time via McCabe. Devon “Speedy” Williams fed McCabe short, and after looking at goal on the turn, the Irishman fired from just outside 18 yards. His deflected shot looped over Steel FC’s McCarthy and clipped the bar on the way over.
In the 19th minute, an unfortunate turn of events saw City forward Cameron Lancaster and Steel FC defender Joshua Yaro collide for a ball. The coming together resulted in Lancaster being subbed off for Rasmussen and taking to a local area hospital via ambulance to treat an upper-body injury. More information will be released when made available.
The following few chances all fell the way of Bethlehem Steel FC as challenges by all three central defenders in Paco Craig, Sean Totsch, and Pat McMahon all kept the hosts at bay. After 45 minutes, the sides could not break the deadlock.
Around the hour mark, O’Connor introduced Alexis Souahy and Brian Ownby into the match in place of Paco Craig and Niall McCabe, looking for fresh legs to change the course of the match. Ownby proved effective in his short stint, combining well with Ilija Ilic and Oscar Jimenez to result in a few chances in front of goal. Five minutes before fulltime, City produced a well-worked move around Bethlehem’s goal only to see Oscar Jimenez’s shot blocked in the end.
At the fulltime whistle, neither team produced a goal as City could not hit the target for the first time in nearly a full calendar month.
City temporarily moves into first place in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand. The team now heads back to the River City to prepare for a clash with Penn FC at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 at Slugger Field. Tickets for the match start at just $12 and are available at 502-384-8799, option 2, or online at louisvillecityfc.com.
The Key Points:
OUT - Richard Ballard (stress fracture)
OUT – Luke Spencer (leg)
Bethlehem Steel FC 0 : 0 Louisville City FC
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Goodman Stadium | Bethlehem, PA
88 degrees / sunny
LOU – Paco Craig 48’
BST – James Chambers 58’
LOU – Pat McMahon 90’
Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Greg Ranjitsingh (GK); Oscar Jimenez, Sean Tostch, Paco Craig (Alexis Souahy 59’), Pat McMahon; Paolo DelPiccolo; Kyle Smith, Devon “Speedy” Williams, Niall McCabe (Brian Ownby 63’), Ilija Ilic; Cameron Lancaster (Magnus Rasmussen 20’)
Bench: Chris Hubbard, Tim Dobrowolski, Shaun Francis, George Davis IV