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Louisville, Swope Park Square off For USL Cup

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 11/08/17, 4:54PM EST

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League’s sixth different champion to be crowned on ESPNU

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The USL Eastern Conference champion Louisville City FC and Western Conference champion Swope Park Rangers will take aim at becoming the sixth different club in USL history to claim the USL Cup on Monday night as the culmination of the biggest season in the USL’s history visits Slugger Field for the 2017 USL Cup.

#LOUvSPR kicks off at 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPNU and SiriusXM FC in the United States, and in the USL Match Center for international audiences.

@LouCityFC reached its first USL Cup this season after defeating the defending champion New York Red Bulls II this past Saturday night 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time. Louisville had fallen one step short in the Eastern Conference Final the past two years, but shootout heroics by goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh sent the hosts through at Slugger Field to earn the right to host the USL Cup.

Ranjitsingh has conceded only once this postseason, and will be available for selection after declining his call-up to the Trinidad & Tobago National Team for the country’s pair of international exhibitions this weekend. Brian Ownby has been the man in form for Louisville’s attack, having scored three goals in three games, while forward Luke Spencer has registered a goal and an assist this postseason.

The @SwopeRangers made history with their victory in the Western Conference Final this past Saturday night, becoming the first team in the USL era to reach the USL Cup in back-to-back seasons. The Rangers also needed a penalty shootout to advance past OKC Energy FC at Children’s Mercy Park, with goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas scoring the decisive goal in the 11th round after having previously saved from fellow goalkeeper C.J. Cochran.

The shootout was the longest in USL Cup Playoffs history, and preserved Swope Park’s undefeated record on home turn in the postseason. Now the Rangers will try to reverse last season’s result in the USL Cup, which saw the side fall 5-1 to the New York Red Bulls II at Red Bull Arena. The Rangers return plenty of experience from that side, led by captain Christian Duke, but the side’s added attacking potency featuring Kharlton Belmar, who leads the team with 15 goals, should test the USL Cup’s history, which has seen the host claim victory on all six prior occasions.

Opta Says

  • 72 – Louisville City FC created 72 Big Scoring Chances in the 2017 regular season, almost 20 percent of their total chances created (375), and seven more than Swope Park (65).

  • 430.6 – Swope Park averaged 430.6 completed passes per game in the 2017 regular season, the highest rate of any team in the league.

Projected Lineups

  • Louisville (3-4-3) – GK: Greg Ranjitsingh; D: Sean Totsch, Paco Craig, Tarek Morad; M: Kyle Smith, Speedy Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez; F: George Davis IV, Luke Spencer, Brian Ownby

  • Swope Park (4-2-3-1) – GK: Adrian Zendejas; D: Colton Storm, Amer Didic, Erik Palmer-Brown, Parker Maher; DM: Christian Duke, James Musa; AM: Lebo Moloto, Kevin Oliveira, Tyler Pasher; F: Kharlton Belmar

Discipline

  • Louisville – None

  • Swope Park – None

Officials

  • REF: JOSE CARLOS RIVERO 

  • AR1: Corey Parker

  • AR2: Danny Thornberry 

  • 4TH: Hilario Grajeda

  • ALT: Eric Weisbrod

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