HARTFORD, Conn. – Louisville City FC took a 4-2 victory against Hartford Athletic at Dillon Stadium on Tuesday night in the USL on ESPN Game of the Week as the visitors took a two-goal first-half lead before the Athletic leveled before halftime, only for goals by Brian Ownby and Antoine Hoppenot to see LouCity to victory.
Returning to their home turf, Hartford had an early chance as Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. drove a shot just over the crossbar in just the third minute, but LouCity settled more quickly overall and began to establish more possession and make life difficult for the Athletic in their own half. That paid off in just the seventh minute as Ownby navigated past a defender into the right side of the penalty area and slipped a pass inside for Cameron Lancaster, whose low shot just got past Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell for his 12th goal of the season, which also moved Lancaster into sole possession of fifth all-time in the Championship’s regular season scoring list with 63 tallies.
The Athletic almost hit back in the 22nd minute as Preston Tabort Etaka delivered a cross from the right through the top of the six-yard area where Derek Dodson slid in at the back post but directed his shot onto the left post. LouCity began to regain control again soon after, though, and Caldwell had to make sharp saves to deny Lancaster a second and an effort by Paolo DelPiccolo within a minute of each other. Just before the half-hour mark the visitors struck again as Lancaster eased a defender off the ball as they vied for a ball into the right side of the penalty area, and while the English forward’s low shot was saved, Jorge Gonzalez was on hand to put home the rebound.
Hartford’s response was immediate as two minutes later Tabort Etaka again drove down the right side and centered through the six-yard area where Obregon was waiting on the doorstep to finish. Louisville got back on the front foot quickly as Hoppenot twice threatened, first with a powerful shot from the left side of the penalty area and then a curling finish toward the top-right corner that were both saved by Caldwell. A minute before halftime the Athletic leveled the game, however, as Younes Boudadi created an overlap for Tabort Etaka on the right and lifted a back-post cross where Dodson was on hand to head home.
Lancaster almost notched his second of the night five minutes into the second half as he took a corner kick quickly from the left as players were gathering in the penalty area but clipped the near post as he went for his second Olimpico of the season. In the 56th minute, though, LouCity regained the lead as off another corner on the left a delivery to the back post by Akil Watts found Ownby for a header back across goal and into the net.
Two minutes later disaster almost struck for the hosts as after Ownby cut back a cross from the right for DelPiccolo, his shot was deflected by Hartford defender Thomas Janjigian and hit the post. After his chances in the first half, however, there was no denying Hoppenot from finding Louisville’s fourth as he dribbled in from the left side, first cut to his left and then back onto his right foot before delivering a curling finish to the far corner of the net just before the hour-mark.
Hartford tried to find a way back into the game again, but this time Louisville produced a more composed defensive display as they saw out the victory, earning a four-point lead at the top of the Central Division while staying in touch with Atlantic Division leader the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the best recording in the Eastern Conference.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Brian Ownby, Louisville City FC – Ownby had a goal and assist, completed four key passes and 22 of 30 passes overall while completing 4 of 5 dribbles and winning 8 of 13 duels defensively.
LOU – Cameron Lancaster (Brian Ownby) 7’
LOU – Jorge Gonzalez 29’
HFD – Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Preston Tabort Etaka) 31’
HFD – Derek Dodson (Younes Boudadi) 44’
LOU – Brian Ownby (Akil Watts) 56’
LOU – Antoine Hoppenot (Alexis Souahy) 59’