FENTON, Mo. – Louisville City FC claimed the Kings’ Cup for the final time with a 1-0 victory against Saint Louis FC on Saturday night at West Community Stadium, a result that also left STLFC’s playoff chances hanging by a thread going to the final week of the season.
Saint Louis now needs Sporting Kansas City II to either win or draw against Indy Eleven next Wednesday night to give Saint Louis a chance to pass Indy when the sides meet next Saturday night in Missouri.
Needing a victory to guarantee a chance to play for a place in the postseason next weekend, Saint Louis had an early chance denied when Joaquin Rivas’ tight-angle finish from the left side of the penalty area was turned away by LouCity goalkeeper Ben Lundt. The hosts then put the ball in the net in the 14th minute, but Kyle Greig was adjudged to have strayed just offside on a free kick before he deposited his finish into the net.
The offside flag denied Greig a second time seven minutes later as he stooped to flick a diving header into the left corner of the net from a ball by Richard Bryan from the right channel, while Rivas had a shot deflected wide of the and Russell Cicerone had a header off a corner kick cleared away by LouCity’s Brian Ownby as the hosts looked for the opening goal.
Ownby came close to putting Louisville ahead in the 28th minute, however, as he gathered a clearance in midfield and quickly surged forward before driving a shot from 25 yards the hit the crossbar and popped up high into the night sky and behind for a goal kick. Saint Louis also hit the woodwork four minutes before halftime as Wal Fall’s flicked header from a corner by Russell Cicerone on the left clipped the right upright and caromed away to safety.
Two minutes before halftime, however, LouCity took the lead as Oscar Jimenez delivered an in-swinging corner from the left that went over a cluster of players at the near post and was met by Speedy Williams for a header almost on the goal line to finish it off. STLFC almost pulled level in first-half stoppage time as Cicerone got pas his defender in the left side of the penalty area but his low shot was saved by Lundt to keep the visitors ahead at the break.
Saint Louis almost found an equalizer seven minutes into the second half as Cicerone and Fall linked up again. This time Cicerone’s floated cross from the left side found Fall at the back post, but Lundt did enough to deflect the ball onto the right post and then away to safety as STLFC’s players asked if it had crossed the line. Dacres was then denied as his low shot was kept out by Lundt, while soon after another set piece saw Fall head just wide of the right post on a delivery from the right channel by Cicerone.
Louisville had fewer chances in the second half as STLFC chased the game, but the visitors almost doubled their lead in the 69th minute as a free kick from beyond the top-left edge of the penalty area was curled just over the top-left corner by Cameron Lancaster. But as Saint Louis pushed late to try and find a way back into the game, Louisville’s defense kept them for the most-part at arms-length as the final ball eluded the hosts.
Saint Louis had one final chance to find an equalizer deep in stoppage time as a floated pass by Paris Gee found Cicerone in space in the left side of the penalty area, but after Cirerone’s finish on the half-volley went wide of the right post for a goal kick, the final whistle came shortly after to leave Saint Louis’s playoff fate out of its hands.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Speedy Williams, Louisville City FC – Williams scored the lone goal of the game, completed 55 of 62 passes overall and won 5 of 8 duels and made eight recoveries for the visitors.