Louisville City FC advanced to the 2018 USL Cup with a commanding 5-1 win over New York Red Bulls II in Friday’s Eastern Conference Final. Los Morados will face the winner of the Western Conference Final between Phoenix Rising SC and Orange County SC, to be played on Saturday, November 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET in California.
For the third straight year, Louisville City and New York Red Bulls II faced off to see which side would be crowned Eastern Conference champions.
No more than 11 minutes passed before the cold temperatures influenced the match as a premature injury sidelined forward Cameron Lancaster. Luke Spencer entered as his replacement.
The first true scoring opportunity for either side came in the 16th when LouCity’s George Davis IV was called for a foul in the penalty box leading to a Red Bulls II penalty kick.
The visitors’ Chris Lema stepped up to the ball, slipping on Slugger Field’s turf and launching the ball over the crossbar as LouCity escaped with no harm delivered.
The defending champions earned themselves a penalty kick five minutes later when LouCity forward Ilija Ilic’s goal line run ended in a foul by a member of the Red Bulls II backline. Ilic would then open the night’s scoring as he aimed right and NYRBII goalkeeper Evan Louro dove left to convert the spot kick.
After an impressive performance saw him score twice in last week’s win over Bethlehem Steel FC, midfielder Brian Ownby found Spencer in the 6-yard box who then doubled the hosts’ lead with a strike past Louro.
Louisville City entered the break with the 2-0 lead.
Both sides spent the first 15 minutes of the second half trading possession before NYRBII had their answer for the two LouCity first-half goals.
A service from Red Bulls II’s Ethan Kutler found forward Tom Barlow in the penalty box, eventually leading to a Barlow header and bringing the visitors within a goal.
Los Morados had their answer thanks to the first of two Devon “Speedy” Williams strikes on the night.
The first came when Niall McCabe found Williams on the left side of the penalty box before Williams’ bending shot snuck past Louro for his side’s third goal of the night.
The second came two minutes later when Williams’ strike from the top of the box rocketed into the back of the net as Ownby recorded his second assist of the match.
With his side up 4-1, Brian Ownby added to his fantastic two-game stretch when the midfielder’s strike from the top of the box gave his side the 5th and final goal of the night.
Louisville City would go on to win the match by a final score of 5-1 as the club advances to their second straight USL Cup final.
Kickoff for the USL Cup final match is set for Thursday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m. at the University of Louisville’s Lynn Stadium.
The Key Points:
Louisville City FC 5 : 1 New York Red Bulls II
Friday, November 2, 2018
Louisville Slugger Field | Louisville, KY
47 degrees / partly cloudy
LOU – Ilija Ilic
LOU – Luke Spencer (Brian Ownby) 32’
NY – Tom Barlow (Ethan Kutler) 60’
LOU – Devon “Speedy” Williams (Niall McCabe) 73’
LOU – Devon “Speedy” Williams (Brian Ownby) 75’
LOU – Brian Ownby 81’
NY – Hassan Ndam (caution) 22’
LOU – Ilija Ilic (caution) 40’
NY – Andrew Tinari (caution) 45’
LOU – George Davis IV (caution) 61’
LOU – Paco Craig (caution) 65’
LOU – Brian Ownby (caution) 68’
LOU – Niall McCabe (caution) 80’
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Greg Ranjitsingh (GK); Alexis Souahy, Paco Craig, Oscar Jimenez, Kyle Smith; Paolo DelPiccolo (c), Niall McCabe, George Davis IV (Devon “Speedy” Williams 64’), Niall McCabe (Sean Totsch 83’); Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 13’), Ilija Ilic
Bench: Shaun Francis, Richard Ballard, Tim Dobrowolski, Luke Spencer, Sean Totsch, Magnus Rasmussen