Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC defeated the Swope Park Rangers 1-0 for the 2017 USL Cup on Monday night in front of a sellout crowd of 14,456 at Slugger Field.
Here are three takeaways from the contest that saw Louisville City FC become the sixth side to claim the USL Cup.
1. As hosts, the expectation was Louisville City FC’s energy would be high to start the 2017 USL Cup, and with a sellout crowd of 14,456 – the second-largest in USL Cup history – cheering them on City certainly made life difficult for the Rangers in the opening 15 minutes. But despite winning possession in dangerous areas, the heightened energy seemed to leave Louisville’s radar just off when it came to the final third. Once the energy reached a more regular level, chances became to arrive in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but Louisville certainly could have done more early to drive home their advantage.
2. The Rangers were the more precise team on the night, consistently putting their chances on target, and paired that with an increased level of intensity at the start of the second half that showed signs the visitors could be on their way to finding victory. When none of those chances came to fruition, however, it ended up being another frustrating USL Cup for the two-time Western Conference champions. Swope Park did plenty of what it needed to walk away with victory on the night, but a strong goalkeeping performance by Lousiville’s Greg Ranjitsingh and his defensive unit left the Rangers empty-handed for a second consecutive year.
3. Louisville’s ability to get production off the bench was a hallmark throughout the postseason, and once more it was a substitute that provided the winner as Cameron Lancaster’s header sent the sellout crowd of 14,456 fans into rapture with two minutes to go. After scoring the club’s opening goal of the regular season, it has been an up-and-down road for Lancaster in the 2017 season, but by scoring the final goal of the season the former Tottenham Hotspur player ended his and Louisville’s year on an incredible high.