LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC moved into position to claim the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs with a 2-1 victory against Sporting Kansas City II on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium.
LouCity moved past the Tampa Bay Rowdies – who were defeated by the Charleston Battery on Saturday in their finale – and would only drop behind Hartford Athletic on goal differential on Sunday if Hartford claimed victory by a 12-goal margin against the New York Red Bulls II in its final game of the regular season.
The game opened evenly, but coming off a surprise win against Indy Eleven on Wednesday night it was Sporting that almost grabbed the lead in the 20th minute as first Fredlin Mompremier created space on the left side of the penalty area for a shot that LouCity goalkeeper Ben Lundt could only parry before Louisville defender Alexis Souahy blocked the follow-up effort by Petar Cuic behind for a corner.
LouCity went close itself two minutes later as a low cross by Oscar Jimenez from the left came through to Brian Ownby at the back post, but his shot was blocked away by Dillon Serna for SKC II. In the 26th minute, though, Ownby held possession in on the right side after an errant pass his way and picked out a cross for Paolo DelPiccolo to head home into the left corner of the net and put the hosts ahead.
The goal appeared to tilt the game in favor of the hosts, and Speedy Williams had a pair of shots that went off target before Cameron Lancaster had a curling effort saved by SKC II goalkeeper Remi Prieur in the 38th minute. Lancaster notched his 10th goal of the season five minutes before halftime, however, as he picked up possession in midfield and drove forward before firing a shot into the bottom-left corner of the net from 25 yards while surrounded by four SKC II players.
Lancaster almost notched his second of the night eight minutes into the second half as Jimenez played a clever ball over the top for the English forward to shoot into the right corner, but Prieur came up with a fine reflex save to sent the shot wide of the post. SKC II then pulled a goal back in the 64th minute as Mompremier sent a low pass into the penalty area from the right that was dummied by Wilson Harris and came to Tyler Freeman, who picked out the bottom-left corner of the net with his shot.
LouCity was able to maintain its lead, however, and with eight minutes to go Sean Totsch almost added a third at the other end as his header went just over the crossbar off a free kick by DelPiccolo from the left channel. The first-half goals proved enough for the hosts, however, who wrapped up the regular season on a six-game winning streak.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Paolo DelPiccolo, Louisville City FC – DelPiccolo opened the scoring for the host with a fine header, had two key passes and four shots overall and completed 33 of 44 passes in a solid midfield display.