Two matches and seven goals later, Louisville City FC has earned six points out of six available and extended its home unbeaten streak to five games to begin the club's USL history.
Louisville City 3 - 0 Wilmington Hammerheads
The Royals began the week with a match-up at home against the affiliate club of NYCFC, the Wilmington Hammerheads. Heading into the match, the Hammerheads found themselves near the bottom of the USL Eastern Conference standings, and it showed early.
The high-pressure system that Louisville Head Coach James O'Connor has been preaching all year produced the first goal of the game as midfielder Juan Guzman intercepted a Wilmington pass high up the field. The Charlotte native pushed towards goal and found his midfield counterpart Magnus Rasmussen, who easily beat the Wilmington keeper for his second goal of the season.
"We've had to drop Magnus back in to play a holding role," O'Connor said of his preferred number 10. "For us -- and for me -- Magnus' best position is where he played tonight. Going forward he's such a threat, he's a very intelligent footballer.
"It's pleasing that he went down and scored."
The second goal was from a less expected source.
Newly signed midfielder Aodhan Quinn, a former Orlando City player, collected a Wilmington half-clearance off his chest in the 40th minute. After letting the ball bounce up to his left foot, Quinn hit a half-volley off the inside of the post and into the back of the net for his first Louisville City goal on his first shot.
"I just saw the ball bounce out from one of their clearances, and then I just took it off the chest and hit it," the San Jose native said. "Lucky for me, and lucky for the team it went in. It's a good start to the season."
The Royals had yet to put three goals on the board in a game this season, but didn't wait long to change that fact. Two minutes after Quinn's strike, the purple pressure got to the Wilmington back line again as a Lou City corner found Quinn's feet. The debutante laid off a ball to center back Conor Shanosky, who calmly notched it home for the 3-0 lead.
"I was right in front of goal in a good spot," Shanosky said. "It's obviously nice to score and it gives you a little bit of a self-confidence boost."
The second half would see Louisville continue to apply pressure, compiling chance after chance that included a worthy penalty shout from Charlie Adams. However, Louisville did not score and came away with the 3-0 win.
"To score three goals and keep a clean sheet, obviously, it's great," O'Connor said.
Louisville City 4 - 0 Toronto FC II
If the first sip of the drink is good, it figures that the second will be better and that was the case for Louisville City this week as the Royals complemented their 3-0 thumping of Wilmington with an even more complete performance in a thrashing of Toronto FC II.
Matt Fondy, in a Man of the Match performance, notched two goals while registering an assist on the opening goal only six minutes into the contest.
Kadeem Dacres collected the ball off of a Louisville clearance and dashed into midfield to start a counter attack. Dacres then played a quick one-two that saw Fondy send a perfectly placed ball to Dacres' feet inside the box. The Rosedale, New York native took the shot from around 10 yards out and would not miss. It was Dacres second goal of the season and Fondy's first assist.
Then, in what would become a theme for Louisville City's attack all night, Bryan Burke went streaking down the right flank of the Toronto defense. Burke, the former Orlando City right back, sent a fast, squared ball into the path of Fondy, who easily redirected it into the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0 in the 15th minute.
The scoring wouldn't stop, and it seemed Louisville was destined to put three into the back of the net for the second straight game. After a Louisville corner was cleared by Toronto in the 35th minute, Dacres collected the ball outside the box. The ex-Arizona United player sent in a second ball towards Shanosky, whose header found pay dirt for his second goal in as many games.
Unlike the Wilmington match, however, the Royals would add a fourth goal in the second half after dominating the game for extended periods.
Fondy was again central to the play, with another one-two combination, this time with Rasmussen in the 56th minute. Having gotten on Toronto left back Marcus Godihno's back shoulder, Fondy was sent through by Rasmussen and sent a shot directly at the keeper Alex Bono, who nearly made the save. However, Fondy's shot proved too powerful, sending the record crowd of 6,090 into a frenzy as it went into the roof of the net.
Fondy's second goal of the night was the final nail in the coffin for a hapless Toronto side that was out-shot by Louisville 24-7 on the night.
After the match, O'Connor was pleased but viewed the match through critical eyes.
"Obviously [we're] very pleased. At times our passing concentration could still be better," O'Connor said of his team's dominant victory. "It's difficult, when you win 4-0 we're going to be very pleased. There were countless opportunities in the first half for [the lead] to be more, and I was disappointed it wasn't. Second half we were very professional and saw the game out."
Louisville City (4-1-3, 15 points) steps out of league play in its next match on the road at Lansing United of the NPSL in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. The winner of that match will travel to face NASL side Indy 11 in the next round of that competition. Between cup dates, Lou City will take on rivals Saint Louis FC in Saint Louis on Saturday.
Sidney Rivera Finally Sees the Field
After weeks away from live matches, Orlando City loanee forward Sidney Rivera has finally seen action in both of Louisville's matches this week.
In two substitution appearances, the Old Dominion alum played 36 minutes and nearly scored with a late header against Toronto. O'Connor seems cautious about throwing Rivera in after such a lengthy injury rehab.
"For Sidney, he's been out for six and a half weeks, so fitness is something that we need to be careful of," O'Connor said of Rivera. "It was great that we were able to get him on and get him some game time. He's gonna have to spend a bit of time getting fit. It's been difficult for him. He's been in Orlando, he's come here -- he hurt his groin before he arrived here -- and he went back [to Orlando]. He's had a frustrating time and so we need to manage that and make sure that we get him fit and try to minimize any risk of injury."
- Matt Fondy received stitches near his right eye after colliding with Bryan Burke in practice this week. However, the injury hasn't had any adverse affects on his play besides a rather large black eye.
- Adam West remains out with an injury that has pushed Enrique Montano into the starting lineup at left back.