As the summer is beginning to wind down, the USL season is pushing towards the playoffs. With just six league matches remaining on the schedule, Louisville City FC sits in second place in the USL, five points behind Eastern Conference rival Rochester.
In their first year, that has to be considered a success.
This week, Louisville played two vital games on the road with a chance to catch the Rhinos in the standings, albeit while needing a little help from Rochester's opponents.
Louisville City 5 - 1 Harrisburg City Islanders
Do you think there was any pent up frustration in Louisville City's locker room?
Following an embarrassing 4-0 loss at home to FC Montreal the previous week, Louisville City FC came out on fire on the road against the Harrisburg City Islanders at the Skyline Sports Complex on Wednesday, en route to a 5-1 victory.
Behind a club record four goals from captain and leading goal scorer Matt Fondy -- including two in the opening 13 minutes as a part of a first half hat trick -- and another from Kadeem Dacres, Louisville City jumped all over the hosts from the opening whistle. Louisville dominated the run of play and created a far greater number of chances than the Islanders, ending the match with a 13-7 advantage in shots, including an 8-2 advantage in the first half.
"[We're] obviously very pleased. To win 5-1 away from home is an excellent result," Head Coach James O'Connor said. "Matt's gonna get all the glory -- he played excellent, scored four goals -- but I thought the overall team performance was very, very good. We could've, perhaps on another night, scored even more goals. I thought the mental toughness we showed under very tough conditions was great."
The poor conditions O'Connor referenced included a thick playing surface that didn't allow the ball to roll very quickly. After the match, Louisville players reported that running on the surface, "felt like running through sand." However, that seems to be par for the course in USL.
Fondy's four goals put his season total at 16, which is three off the pace of league leader Danni Konig of Oklahoma City. Aside from Fondy, left back Enrique Montano had a big night as well, registering three assists. The match also marked the return of defensive midfielder Guy Abend, who saw game action for the first time since a gruesome tackle from the Richmond Kickers' Matt Callahan in the second game of the season forced Abend into two knee surgeries.
Highlight's from the win:
Louisville City 2 - 2 Tulsa Roughnecks
If losing an early lead on the road can ever be spun into a positive, Louisville City's performance in a 2-2 draw at the Tulsa Roughnecks would qualify.
A spectacular strike from former Orlando City Lion Aodhan Quinn in the 19th minute put Louisville City ahead. Quinn, whose first goal for the club was almost as spectacular, deposited a Goal of the Year candidate when he curled the ball off of his preferred left foot from a free kick about 25 yards from goal. The ball ricocheted off of the far post in the top corner and into the back of the net, leaving Tulsa keeper Jake Feener without a hope of stopping it.
However, Tulsa would answer back when Kyle Venter headed home the equalizer in the 35th minute.
Tulsa thought they had a winner in the last 15 minutes of play when Cristian Mata scored in the 76th minute, but Louisville resiliently fought back to equalize. Illija Illic chested down a Juan Guzman cross in the box directly to the feet of Niall McCabe, who fired a shot through traffic to bring the visitors level at 2-2.
The match would end with that scoreline. Louisville City (12-4-6, 42 points) now find themselves five points behind their New York rivals as a result of their draw and Rochester's 2-1 win over the Wilmington Hammerheads. Louisville will next take the field Saturday night at home against the third-place Charleston Battery (9-4-9, 36 points) in the teams' first ever match-up. Kickoff will be at 7:30 at Louisville Slugger Field.
Highlights from the draw:
Sidney Rivera Doesn't Play
Orlando City draftee Sidney Rivera was unused in the Pittsburgh Riverhounds' 1-1 draw with the Charlotte Independence over the weekend. The Old Dominion alum and former Louisville City player has yet to make his debut since being loaned to his second USL club.
- Aodhan Quinn's goal was featured on ESPN as a part of SportsCenter's Top 10. Coming in at number five on the countdown, the goal makes Louisville City the first professional sports team from the city of Louisville to be featured on the program.