Louisville City needs a nickname. I know it. You know it. My mom knows it, and she doesn't even like soccer. Where we all disagree is how we expect it to happen.
While I agree with the sentiment here (and I, of course, have nothing but love for the Heretics), I think we should be tossing around ideas. Consider the nicknames of some other select American sports teams.
New York Knicks: Named after the pants worn by Dutch immigrants to New York in the 17th century.
San Francisco 49ers: Named after the 1849 California Gold Rush.
Kentucky Wildcats: Named in 1909 after a University Department-head told a group of students the football team "fought like Wildcats."
Louisville Cardinals: Named after the state bird of Kentucky.
Green Bay Packers: Named after the Indian Packing Company.
Wisconsin Badgers, LSU Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers, Kansas Jayhawks: All named after their state's history or the Civil War.
Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Cincinnati Reds: Named literally after the color of their uniforms.
Oakland Athletics: Named, well, after the nature of sports.
So, with that in mind, I say we begin thinking about it, and I'll do my part by tossing around nicknames in this column. Waiting around for this team to say, show us their nickname with their play on the field, is silly because then we'll end up with a name like "Kickers" or "Strikers". Let's not over-think it; the name could be something simple like "Giants" or an animal. I say we just start the conversation.
Louisville City 2 - 0 Tulsa Roughnecks
From the moment Louisville City FC came to fruition, we've heard Head Coach James O'Connor wax philosophical about his ideal playing style. Maintain possession, pressure high up the field defensively, give the opposition as little time on the ball as possible, and, most importantly, be entertaining. Perhaps for the first time since early preseason (the 3-0 win over the University of Louisville comes to mind), we saw the fantasies of O'Connor's footballing brain displayed on the field.
"Every one of the players tonight has been fantastic," the former Orlando City midfielder complimented. "The spirit and the character that we've shown tonight [was] tremendous. Really, really proud of all the players."
In a match that got off under bizarre circumstances due to rain, hail and potential thunderstorms, the Distillers commanded much of the game early. They dominated the ball in Tulsa's half of the field, holding a significant advantage in shots while limiting the Roughnecks to few opportunities on the counter.
The consistent pressure on Tulsa's net finally forced the Roughneck defense to cave as right back Bryan Burke, a former Orlando City player, sent in a cross directed at team captain Matt Fondy, whose header found the back of the net for their first assist and goal, respectively, of the young season.
"He made it easy for me," Fondy said of his teammate Burke. "We work on it all week. You find that spot, and he just put it right on my head. A silver platter.
"The chemistry Bryan and I have has been reinforced over years now," Fondy, who was named Man of the Match, continued. "I think that helps bring the entire team together."
To their credit, Tulsa's response to the goal was strong, as they forced LCFC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin into a number of saves. In total, the Bourbons' number one was credited with six saves.
"Scott performed really well," O'Connor said of his keeper. "At the end he had a couple of big saves for us."
Perhaps due to frustration on the part of Tulsa, the game grew increasingly physical. Tulsa was shown two yellow cards and Louisville midfielder Charlie Adams was shown a straight red card, all in a matter of four minutes in the early portion of the second half. However, despite the man difference, the Horsemen maintained their control of the game, peppering the Tulsa goal with shots on chance after chance.
Again, after extended periods of pressure, the Roughneck goal was breached in the closing minutes. Substitute midfielder Nate Polak collected the rebound from another Fondy header off the crossbar, which was set up by yet another dangerous Burke cross, and fired a shot toward the far post. Roughneck defender Ryan Price, in a attempt to get in the way of the shot, deflected it into the back of his own net for a 2-0 Mauve lead, which held until the final whistle.
The victory extends the Louisville (2-0-3, nine points) unbeaten streak to five games to start the club's history in USL. Sitting alone at fourth-place in the Eastern Conference, the Juleps are one of four undefeated teams remaining in the league, all of whom reside in front of Louisville in the conference standings. The next Thoroughbred match will take place on Saturday, away to the Charlotte Independence (0-2-2, two points) at 7:30 p.m..
Highlights from the win:
- The announced crowd of 4,877 was treated to a determined National Anthem singer at Louisville Slugger Field Saturday. As soon as Caroline Dawson began the Star-Spangled Banner, quarter-sized hail began to fall, causing a mad rush of fans under the overhangs of the park. However, Dawson stayed strong and finished the anthem despite getting pelted with hail. Check out the video here.
- When asked if he expected his team to start the season on such a long unbeaten streak, Matt Fondy responded simply and with a smile, "Absolutely."