Louisville City tops Saint Louis 2-0 in club's first game
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – With 6,067 in attendance, Louisville City FC pulled out its first victory in the franchise's first match.
The team, who went undefeated in the preseason, put in a dominating performance over Saint Louis FC in a 2-0 win. Fans turned out in the cold -- but stuck to the sun splashed areas of the chilly, riverside stadium -- to see the first professional soccer game played on a patched-together pitch at Louisville Slugger Field.
The club was extremely complimentary of the Bats' head groundskeeper Tom Nielsen, who worked to cover the infield and retractable pitcher's mound with turf.
“We're very grateful for all the help that both Tom and all his staff have done,” head coach James O'Connor said after the game.
And except for a few minor slips here and there, players didn't seem bothered by the patches of turf or noticeably absent pitcher's mound.
Team officials were excited with the turnout and the atmosphere, which many have been waiting well over a year to finally experience.
“Everybody on the staff, everybody on the coaching staff - on the office staff - they've all busted their tails and it was great to see them get this kind of payoff,” owner Wayne Estopinal said after the game.
Fans packed into the sideline seats decked in purple and there was a huge line before the game at the merchandise table.
The game -- and franchise's -- first goal came in the 23rd minute as Magnus Rasmussen ran down a long ball, beat a defender and slipped a shot past St. Louis goalie Mark Pais.
Charlie Adams came on at halftime for Kadeem Dacres and notched the second goal from outside the box in the 65th minute off a backheel pass from midfielder Guy Abend.
“It was superb, especially the fans,” Adams said after the game. “We're a new team, we're still getting used to each other … but I thought for the first game ... it went well.”
Matt Fondy put pressure on the defense but was kept off the score sheet, leaving the goal scoring to City's attacking midfielders. Adams was the star of the second half, but City's midfielders showed flashes of mid-season-like form with quick passing and lightning fast counter-attacks.
“I think at times the decision making could be a little better,” O'Connor said. “But the whole of the team did really well and worked really hard.”
Heralded goalkeeper Scott Goodwin put in a solid performance behind City's back line, providing a steady presence and quick distribution.
Saint Louis's best chances came in the closing minutes of the first half as players loaded into the box and forced a nervous clearance from Juan Guzman.
St. Louis's Jamiel Hardware led the attack for the visitors with two shots, but just one on target.
The first booking in a very physical game came in the 70th minute as Jermie Lynch was shown a yellow on clumsy tackle in front of the City bench.
City takes three points from the inaugural Kings' Cup clash with Saint Louis FC and will travel to Richmond to take on the Kickers on April 4.
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