LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Cameron Lancaster recorded two goals and one assist while Brian Ownby had a goal and assist as No. 5 seed Louisville City FC swept to a 4-0 victory against No. 8 seed Detroit City FC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium.
Louisville made a strong start and got the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot in the 15th minute when Ownby was brought down in the penalty area. Lancaster stepped up to the spot and shot home to the right side as Detroit goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher went the opposite direction. Ownby then added to the lead two minutes before halftime as he hammered home a low shot after Le Rouge were unable to clear a corner kick for the ninth postseason goal of his career.
Lancaster joined Ownby on nine postseason goals as the two combined to add a third in the 59th minute as Ownby’s dinked cross from the left byline found Lancaster at close range to head home at the back post. A minute later, Lancaster added an assist for Jorge Gonzalez, who wove through the DCFC defender before lifting his finish home to cap the scoring and sent LouCity back to another Eastern Conference Final.
1. This wasn’t likely going to be a season Cameron Lancaster would have looked back on with great fondness, with his absences due to injury hindering his ability to make an impact on the field. In the last few weeks, though, the veteran forward has shown off all the qualities that have made him one of the most feared strikers in the Championship. On Saturday night he got LouCity underway with a clinical penalty kick – he’s now 16 of 17 all-time from the spot in the regular season and playoffs – but it was his second-half goal that showed why he scores so regularly. Hanging off the defensive line led to a miscommunication, allowing Lancaster to waltz in all alone. Brian Ownby did the rest with a clipped cross in and that was that in terms of this being a contest.
2. Run from it, fear it, you know it’s coming. Brian Ownby and the USL Championship Playoffs have been best friends throughout his career and this was another vintage #PlayoffOwnby performance. The veteran winger was lively from the off, drawing the penalty that led to Lancaster putting LouCity ahead, and his speed consistently put pressure on the Detroit back line. Completing 3 of 6 dribbles overall, he was on the spot to bang home his ninth playoff goal – now tied with Lancaster for the most in Championship Playoffs history – while his assist was a thing of beauty. We’ve been waiting for LouCity to wake up this season. Saturday night, it might just have happened.
3. The thing about producing an upset in unlikely circumstances? It’s unlikely that lightning will strike twice. Detroit City FC found a way against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the Conference Quarterfinals but just never seemed to get acclimated to the tempo that LouCity was ready to bring and combined with an inability to link play in the attacking half – DCFC only completed 20 passes in Louisville’s attacking third – and that was all she wrote. There’s a big offseason ahead for Le Rouge as Trevor James moves up to Sporting Director, but this was a bumpy ending to the campaign.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Game
Cameron Lancaster, Louisville City FC – Lancaster had two goals and one assist, giving him goals in three consecutive games overall, and linked play well when called on, completing 9 of 13 passes.
LOU – Cameron Lancaster (penalty) 15’
LOU – Brian Ownby 42’
LOU – Cameron Lancaster (Brian Ownby) 59’
LOU – Jorge Gonzalez (Cameron Lancaster) 60’