LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the five previous seasons of its existence, Louisville City Football Club had only once lost back-to-back home games, and had lost to Saint Louis FC only once.
The Boys in Purple matched both of those dubious totals in just their second game in brand-new Lynn Family Stadium, dropping a 1-0 result on Saturday before a COVID-19 restricted crowd of 4,861.
"Obviously that's a crushing defeat right there, especially the way we had seemed to put the game on our terms early," LouCity coach John Hackworth said. "I really felt like we had a lot of chances, got a lot of shots on goal. We missed the final pass (several times) in that first half, especially toward the end there, and you can't do that. You can't put a team on the ropes the way we just did, and then let off."
Unlike the 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Sunday's stadium opener, LouCity created decent chances on Saturday — especially in the first half — but could not convert around the goal.
It outshot Saint Louis 10-3 in the first half, and the visitors didn't manage a shot on goal. In the second half, Saint Louis held a 2-1 edge in shots on target but, more importantly, it put one into the back of the net off a corner kick.
Todd Wharton sent a pass to Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare at the top-left corner of the penalty area and, after getting a return pass, lifted a cross to the back post, where Guy Abend's header found Tyler Blackwood in the right place to finish easily from close range.
It was the only scoring SLFC would need, though Louisville continued to apply pressure.
"A little detail," Hackworth said. "A guy loses his man on a really difficult ball that you think, that ball's in the air for a long time, and several people should deal with that. But it turns out to be the game-winner."
The home team's best opportunities came in the first half. Top-scorer Cameron Lancaster was playing in his 100th regular-season USL game and did everything but celebrating with a couple of scores. He put an early shot off the post after it was grazed by Saint Louis keeper Kyle Morton. In the 22nd minute, he found the crossbar from 30 yards out. He also had a free kick punched away just before half.
For the game, LouCity outshot Saint Louis 19-7 and put four shots on target to the visitors' two. LouCity also held 59% of possession.
But in the second half, when it needed a goal, Louisville again couldn't create quality chances. Late in the game, with Saint Louis packing in to preserve the win, there was little room to be found.
"I wasn't really pleased with the way we tried to push back, although, for a second game in a row, you've got to give an opponent credit," Hackworth said. "We've got a lot of things to fix. The performance overall was much better, but this game can hurt you so much sometimes. ... For the second straight game, we have to play through a compact and organized defense, and we haven't done that well two weeks in a row."
LouCity will try once again for its first win in its new home when Sporting KC II visits Lynn Family Stadium at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25. The match will be televised on WBKI. And, although his team played better Saturday, Hackworth said he's still seeing too many mistakes.
"It's hard to really be encouraged right now," he said. "I was pleased with the way we approached (the start) and what we were able to create. but we had a lot of easy passes that we missed in the final third that could've created even more opportunities. I was pretty frustrated."
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