Louisville City 3 - 0 Richmond Kickers
With back to back victories now in the books, Louisville City (7-3-5, 26 points) has risen to third in the USL Eastern Conference. Mission accomplished? Hardly.
"It's head down and drive on," Head Coach James O'Connor said of his team's mentality in the aftermath of Louisville's 3-0 demolition of Richmond on Saturday. "We're pleased, but a big game again next Saturday."
If Louisville was to vault ahead of their Independence Day foes in the standings, it would have to be through a fluid attack that could break up the Richmond defense. The Kickers came out with a classic visiting team strategy, putting all 11 players behind the ball without applying much pressure when Louisville was in possession.
"That's the danger, because they make things very difficult for you," O'Connor said of Richmond's defensive minded strategy. "On our pitch [at Louisville Slugger Field], where it's not very big, it's certainly a conundrum that you need to solve. It was something that we knew they were going to do, so we tried to prepare everyone for that and tried to make sure that we could do some things that would create problems for them."
Louisville created those problems, and found a breakthrough in the 16th minute. Bryan Burke and Matt Fondy hooked up for the captain's 10th goal of the season, which puts Fondy one off the pace of OKC's Danni Konig and Pittsburgh's Ron Vincent for third in the league.
Then, at the start of the second half, left back Enrique Montano's corner met the head of center back Tarek Morad who was making a near post run. Morad's header beat Richmond keeper Ryan Taylor for only the third goal Louisville has scored this season from a corner.
"It all happens in practice," Enrique said of the corner. "We stayed after practice for a few minutes, hit some balls, and we got it on point."
Magnus Rasmussen added a third in the 61st minute, and Louisville was on its way to its third league shut out of the year.
"Very professional performance," O'Connor assessed. "Our play at times tonight was very good. We're very pleased, because Richmond are a very, very good team and they cause teams problems. It's a great win for us."
The victory puts Louisville even on points with Richmond in third place of the USL's Eastern Conference, with 26 apiece. Louisville sits second in the league in goals allowed and goal differential, and is tied for third in goals scored.
When Louisville takes on the Charlotte Independence next Saturday, it will mark the end of a four-match home stand, and the Royals will try to avenge that 1-0 loss at Charlotte on May 2, which was their first ever league loss.
O'Connor on Orlando City
James O'Connor echoed the public sentiments of both Louisville City and Orlando City on Saturday when he was asked to give his thoughts on Orlando's decision to reorganize its relationship with its USL partner.
"For us, it's big news, but the affiliation has changed from an affiliation to a cooperation agreement," the former Orlando City midfielder said. "We've got a great relationship with Orlando. They're coming down to play here in August. Whether it's called 'a cooperation agreement', whether it's called 'an affiliation,' for me [it's] much of a muchness. I'm sure things will be the same. Great relationship with everyone there in Orlando, so for us it's not that big of a deal. The language just changes, but the partnership will still be there."
- Orlando City loanee Sidney Rivera went unused for the second straight match, though he was made available as a substitute this week unlike last week's win over OKC.
- The Independence Day crowd of 8,245 was another record for Louisville City. This was the third record crowd in the last four home matches.