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Louisville City Update: Prepping for Season Opener

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Louisville City FC ended its preseason with two victories over Lindsey Wilson College and the Indy 11, and is preparing for its inaugural season opener against Saint Louis on Saturday.

Louisville City Head Coach James O'Connor looks on. Will he lead LCFC to victory in its first ever match?
Louisville City Head Coach James O'Connor looks on. Will he lead LCFC to victory in its first ever match?
Will Jay

With a full preseason slate, against both collegiate and professional opposition, Louisville City FC has yet to lose a match and enters its March 28 inaugural season opener against Saint Louis having outscored that opposition 13-3 over the course of five matches.

Orlando City's USL affiliate ended the exhibition portion of its schedule by dispatching collegiate side Lindsey Wilson College, 5-0, and NASL outfit Indy Eleven, 2-1, in a matter of four days.

Lindsey Wilson, an NAIA college in Columbia, KY, was easily outmatched in the March 17 match against LCFC at Assumption High School in Louisville. Danish midfielder Magnus Rasmussen notched his second goal of the preseason in the fourth minute, heading home a ball from English midfielder Charlie Adams. Louisville would add to the lead before half, with a goal from Nate Polak -- again off of an Adams assist.

The second half would go no better for the visitors from South Central Kentucky, as Rasmussen would score from a free kick from around 25 yards out. The left-footed Rasmussen sent his shot over the wall and inside the far post, past a diving LWC keeper. Louisville would add two more goals from trialist Illija Illic and Nate Polak.

LCFC's second match of the week wouldn't be so easy.

After resting regular starters Matt Fondy, Bryan Burke and Guy Abend against Lindsey Wilson, Louisville City struggled through a physical affair in Indianapolis against would-be regional rivals Indy Eleven. The match went to the halftime break scoreless, but with five yellow cards shown between the two sides. In the second half, however, the goals would come tumbling out.

Niall McCabe would get Louisville on the board in the 53rd minute after he collected a poor pass from Indy goalkeeper Greg Janicki and coolly lobbed it back over the keeper's head from around forty yards out. Indy would answer within five minutes, but LCFC regained the lead in the 64th minute, as leading scorer Fondy again found the back of the net, cleaning up the rebound of a saved Conor Shanosky header off of a corner kick. It was Fondy's fourth goal of the preseason, and it was good enough to be the winner in Louisville City's final preseason match.

After the match, Louisville City Head Coach James O'Connor was pleased with what he saw after the halftime break.

"From our point of view, I thought the second half was definitely a lot better," the former Orlando City midfielder said, via the team's official site. "I though Niall's goal was an exceptional goal. Really pleased that we scored off a set piece, so all in all we're obviously very pleased to get the win."

Highlights from Indianapolis:

Louisville City opens it's inaugural USL season Saturday against rival Saint Louis at 3 p.m. Follow me on Twitter for the updates, and be sure to check in to next week's update for the recap and quotes from the players and coaches.

The Kit Will Finally Be Revealed

Louisville City has finally announced that the club will reveal its Adidas branded jerseys for the inaugural season. The club will hold an event for Founding Members on Thursday, where the club is expected to reveal jerseys that are fairly similar to those of MLS affiliate club Orlando City.

"Revealing our inaugural season uniform to our partners and Founding Members is going to be a memorable evening," General Manager Amanda Duffy said in a release. "We've had great support from significant Louisville-based businesses, and we look forward to sharing details with our fans in the days both leading up to Thursday's event and at the special event as well."

Again, I'll have pictures on my Twitter account following the event.

Season Opening Storylines

As much news as there has been in the buildup to the first season in Louisville professional soccer history, there are still more than a few questions that have been left unanswered.

  • Trialist forward Illija Illic has shown considerable promise in the preseason, scoring two goals. However, with less than a week until the season begins, there has been no announcement as to whether Illic will be signed permanently by the team.
  • Will the turf be as big of a problem as feared? In the first episode of our original show UpRoar, I discussed with the other Mane Land writers the state of the turf at Louisville Slugger Field. Over the weekend, the grounds crew began to place the turf over the dirt infield and warning track at the baseball park. Will the turf be a problem for O'Connor's hard working style of play?

  • Who will be the other Orlando loanees? We know about Sidney Rivera, but who else will the Lions be sending north for USL playing time?
  • One question that has been answered is that of the broadcast team for LCFC's YouTube broadcasts. ESPN 680 radio producer Jim Wombwell will be the play-by-play voice of Lousville City FC in its inaugural season. Though there has been no official announcement, Wombwell told me that he'll be joined by fellow ESPN 680 employee Bob Valvano, the former basketball coach and brother of the late Jim Valvano, who will provide color commentary.

It's a historic week for the city of Louisville, and the excitement of the soccer season is building. See you next week.