Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – Louisville City FC scored in either half to move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings after a 2-0 victory against FC Cincinnati before a crowd of 26,495 fans at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night. City FC opened the game brightly and took the lead in the 15th minute after Magnus Rasmussen was brought down near the top of the penalty area. Cameron Lancaster stepped up and curled his finish into the left corner of the net to put the visitors ahead. Louisville continued to create the better chances in the first half as both Ilija Ilic and Kyle Smith sent opportunities off target before the halftime break. The second half opened more chippily, but Cincinnati started to find more headway in the attacking third and almost equalized when Emmanuel Ledesma's free kick came back off the left post in the 55th minute. The hosts again went close 12 minutes later when a cross from the right by Corben Bone was headed just wide of the left post by Emery Welshman. Louisville doubled its advantage with 16 minutes to go, however, as a shot from the top of the penalty area by George Davis IV took a wicked deflection that saw it loop over FCC goalkeeper Evan Newton and into the net. Cincinnati’s Dekel Keinan headed just wide of the right post shortly after as the hosts tried to mount a comeback, while Newton made a fine save to keep FCC’s deficit at two goals with a great save to keep out a free kick by Oscar Jimenez, but Louisville would walk away with its second victory at Nippert Stadium and regular-season bragging rights between the two rivals.
15’ – LOU – Cameron Lancaster
74’ – LOU – George Davis IV (Oscar Jimenez)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Louisville took its second victory at Nippert Stadium of the season in what might have been the defending USL Cup champion’s best display of the year so far. The visitors looked sharper on the ball for much of the night and closed down FCC defensively in taking a one-goal lead to the halftime break, and that defensive structure remained intact in the second half as Louisville held Cincinnati without a shot on goal for the game as the visitors closed down passing lanes and shooting angles well throughout in a second shutout road victory against the club’s biggest rival.
2. Cameron Lancaster hadn’t found the net against FC Cincinnati prior to this season, but for a second consecutive game provided the game-winning goal with a first-half tally that also marked the English forward’s sixth goal of the season overall. Cincinnati goalkeeper Evan Newton will likely have a bone to pick with his defensive wall on the opening goal, which disintegrated to allow the shot to find the left corner of the net, but with as strongly as Lancaster has led Louisville’s line this season the visitors will be hoping the injury that forced his substitution after half-an-hour isn’t an overly serious one.
3. Cincinnati has produced comeback performances previously this season but ceded the River Cities Cup for a second consecutive year as an attack that had produced 10 goals in its previous three home games was blanked by Louisville’s sterling defensive effort. In holding the hosts to only two shots in the first half, City FC in particular bottled up USL assists leader Emmanuel Ledesma, who was held to only one key pass in the contest from a corner kick as his free kick off the post early in the season half was the playmaker’s closest chance to making a difference to the game.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Devon Williams, Louisville City FC – Williams was a major influence in the center of midfield for Louisville, hoovering up loose passes and distributing well to play a key role in his side’s road victory.
FC Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls II – June 2, 1 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena
Louisville City FC at Bethlehem Steel FC – June 9, 5 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium