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Cruz comes away happy from LouCity draw with Austin FC

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 02/04/24, 8:44AM EST


Wilson Harris, Brian Ownby on target in 2-2 draw against MLS opponents at Q2 Stadium

Louisville City FC's Wilson Harris celebrates with teammates after his first-half goal against Austin FC on Saturday afternoon at Q2 Stadium. | Photo courtesy Austin FC

In preseason, especially in the first scrimmage of camp, the result rarely matters.

What does is the intensity and work-rate the squad puts out.

For Louisville City FC Head Coach Danny Cruz, that made the side’s first outing a success, even before you factor in the 2-2 draw the side earned against Austin FC of Major League Soccer at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.

“I thought, overall, it was an excellent exercise for us,” said Cruz. “Our intensity and our mentality for the entire 90 minutes was right where we wanted it to be. I think for sure we’re seeing the group come together in a great way. We put ourselves in a position to win the game and overall are really, really happy with the performance.”

Both sides exchanged chances early on as LouCity Academy product Owen Damm sent a finish wide of the left post from inside the box shortly before the hosts opened the scoring through Jáder Obrian. Louisville hit back soon after, however, as Wilson Harris opened his account for 2024 as he broke in behind the Austin defense to equalize in the 28th minute.

Louisville continued to create chances with its first unit as Jake Morris went close from a free kick before Ray Serrano sent a finish wide. The visitors’ second unit put them ahead six minutes into the second half, however, when Brian Ownby finished off a counterattack.

Taylor Davila also went close for LouCity as one of a handful of offseason arrivals to make their first appearances for the club, while Austin had a pair of chances to level soon after. The equalizer came for the hosts with 10 minutes to play as Valentin Noël fired a shot from distance that caromed in off the post.

LouCity will continue its preseason in Arizona on Thursday as it faces fellow USL Championship club El Paso Locomotive FC in the Desert Friendlies hosted by FC Tucson. Cruz is hoping his side will build on a positive start to the new year.

“What you want to see is growth from the group from day one to where we are now,” Cruz said. “And did the group excel on the objectives that we had for this game? That was our defensive shape, our mentality in the press, looking to be on the front foot, winning our 1-v-1 battles — and we checked all those boxes.

“The players certainly left everything on the field for their 45 minutes, which is what we’ve talked about wanting to see this year.”

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