If last week's victory over Pittsburgh were written from a familiar script, this week's 3-1 Louisville City victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads was a surprise sequel.
With two (2!) goals from set pieces, including Matt Fondy's 12th of the year, and another from Charlie Adams in open play, the Royals stormed over Wilmington to surge past the Charleston Battery into second place in the USL Eastern Conference.
The match was the second in which Louisville City won after conceding the first goal of the game, though that didn't look to be the case in the early going. Louisville City earned a penalty in the early going and the usually reliable Magnus Rasmussen stepped up to take the penalty. The Danish midfielder mishit the ball, however, and it rolled harmlessly into the arms of Wilmington keeper Andre Rawls.
"I think he mis-kicked it," Head Coach James O'Connor said. "I don't think he got the contact he wanted. It happens."
However, as has been the case all season, Louisville played on.
"When we missed the penalty, I thought our reaction was excellent. We didn't let that impact the outcome of the game," O'Connor added.
Wilmington was awarded a penalty of their own in the 24th minute, which Brian Ackley hammered home to give the Hammerheads, who would end the day in last place in the East, a surprise home lead.
After that it was all Louisville on the score sheet.
Fondy scored with a header from an Enrique Montano corner kick in the dying moments of the first half to bring Louisville back level at the half. Then, as the second half got underway, the Royals scored twice in the first 12 minutes of the second stanza. The goals came from Conor Shanosky in the 52nd, on a quickly taken free kick, and Charlie Adams in the 57th, on a long distance bomb from the Englishman.
"I thought our play at times was good. I thought the chances we created were very promising," O'Connor said.
"We couldn't be more proud of the players."
The win pushes Louisville (10-3-5, 35 points) to within five points of the first place Rochester Rhinos with a game in hand. The Royals will continue their road trip and put their five-game winning streak on the line in Toronto against Toronto FC II on Saturday.
"I think for us it's very much a case of keeping your feet firmly on the ground. You get your head down and work as hard as we have done," O'Connor said.
"For us it's always the next game. The next game is our most important game. I know everyone will get bored of me saying that, but our focus always has to be the next game."
Highlights from the win:
- With 35 points through 18 games, Louisville City is second in the entire USL in points per game at 1.94. The only team that earns more points with each outing is also the only team Louisville is looking up at in the Eastern standings, Rochester (h/t to the Louisville Heretics).