Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC needed overtime, but took a 2-0 victory against a Richmond Kickers side that had to play most of the game down to 10 men in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs on Sunday night in front of 5,467 fans at Slugger Field. The Kickers absorbed an early blow when Samuel Asante was sent off in just the fourth minute for a high challenge on Louisville’s Magnus Rasmussen, but almost took the lead in the 13th minute as Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh had to save well from William Yomby’s header off a corner. Louisville’s first good chance also came off a set piece, as a free kick by Cameron Lancaster from the left was dummied at the near-post by Tarek Morad, but Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra punched clear as he quickly shifted to save. Louisville stepped up the pressure at the start of the second half, and almost took the lead five minutes after the break when Kadeem Dacres’ volleyed shot from 25 yards forced a big save from Dkystra. Aodhan Quinn also sent a shot to the bottom-right corner just past the hour-mark that was turned wide, while Yudai Imura headed off the line from a header by Paco Craig. Dykstra continued to stand tall as Louisville pressed, sending the game to overtime scoreless as Ilija Ilic had his shot saved, but George Davis IV struck for the hosts with a low shot to the right corner early in the first extra period. Chandler Hoffman doubled Louisville’s lead in the 102nd minute as a pass into the penalty area by Dacres gave him the angle to slip around Dykstra and find the back of the net, and that proved the decisive blow to send Louisville through.
Three Things That Matter:
1. Playing down a man for almost the entirety of the game, it was going to take a special performance for the Richmond Kickers to find victory in a stadium they had suffered defeat in on both of their previous visits. While they didn’t get the cumulative performance they were looking for, they remained in with a chance throughout regulation thanks to a standout turn by Andrew Dykstra in goal, as the 2012 USL Champion with Charleston and 2013 USL Goalkeeper of the Year for the Kickers put on a show with a number of outstanding saves to keep the game scoreless.
2. It felt as though eventually the pressure would break the dam, though, and two minutes into the extra session fate kicked in. It often seems players will come back to haunt their former clubs sometimes, and this time it was former Kickers standout George Davis IV who did the honors for Louisville to take the lead on a fine lead pass by Aodhan Quinn and finish by the three-time USL All-League selection. Davis arrived in Louisville with the goal of claiming his first USL championship, and on Sunday helped his side move one step closer.
3. Louisville leading scorer Chandler Hoffman started the game on the bench, as has been customary of late with Cameron Lancaster taking the lone striker role in City’s normal 4-2-3-1 formation. With his side looking lackluster half-an-hour in against the 10 men of Richmond, however, Louisville Coach James O’Connor switched in Hoffman for an understandably miffed Magnus Rasmussen. The move appeared to work, though, as City’s performance took on greater energy, and Hoffman himself was rewarded with the second goal of the night, breaking a long dry spell that could be just what the side needs as it welcomes Charleston next Saturday.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Andrew Dykstra, Richmond Kickers – Dykstra ended up on the losing side on Sunday night, but his 10-save performance was the best on the field as the 10-man Kickers battled manfully before coming up short.
Louisville City FC – Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. No. 6 Charleston Battery, Saturday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. ET
Richmond Kickers – End of Season
92’ – LOU – George Davis IV (Aodhan Quinn)
102’ – LOU – Chandler Hoffman (Kadeem Dacres)
LOU: 13-Greg Ranjitsingh; 24-Kyle Smith, 15-Sean Reynolds, 18-Paco Craig, 6-Tarek Morad (2-Ben Newnam, 77’; 8-Guy Abend, 4-Aodhan Quinn; 7-Kadeem Dacres (77-Andy Lubahn, 107’), 10-Magnus Rasmussen (17-Chandler Hoffman, 33’), 12-Mark-Anthony Kaye (22-George Davis IV, 62’); 9-Cameron Lancaster (14-Ilija Ilic, 69’)
RIC: 50-Andrew Dkystra; 31-Braeden Troyer, 2-William Yomby, 8-Hugh Roberts, 18-Alex Lee (29-Conor Shanosky, 106’; 4-Fred Owusu Sekyere (14-Yudai Imura, 68’), 32-Scott Thomsen, 28-Samuel Asante, 22-Brian Ownby (26-Miguel Aguilar, 65’, Jackson Eskay, 84’); 17-Jason Yeisley, 9-Anthony Grant (7-Matt Delicate, 81’)
Venue: Slugger Field