Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Luke Spencer scored from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time as Louisville City FC took a 2-1 victory against the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday night in front of 6,698 fans at Slugger Field. Louisville went close in the 12th minute as Oscar Jimenez bent a shot just high and wide of the top-right corner of the net, while Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez made a good save to keep a potential own goal out in the 18th minute as a chipped cross was redirected by one of his defenders on goal from the top of the penalty area. The hosts took the lead five minutes later, however, as George Davis IV rifled home a low finish to the left corner for his fifth goal of the season. Rochester didn’t get many clear looks on goal for much of the first half, but leveled two minutes before halftime as Jochen Graf won a challenge in the City penalty area, and then calmly curled home a finish into the right corner. Louisville continued to carry the play in the second half, but the hosts were unable to create many clear-cut chances as Rochester defended strongly. A late pair of chances from a set piece were punched clear by Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez before Jimenez shot over the crossbar from 20 yards with a crowded penalty area before him, but in stoppage time a handball off a free kick by Jimenez saw Louisville awarded a penalty kick and Spencer slotted home into the right corner to grab a big three points.
23’ – LOU – George Davis IV
43’ – ROC – Jochen Graf (Mike Garzi)
90+’ – LOU – Luke Spencer (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. In a game between two teams with very clear styles, things played out very much as expected as Louisville carried much of the play and created the early chances as the Rhinos battled hard defensively. Rochester had yet to record a shot, in fact, by the time George Davis IV gave Louisville the lead in the 23rd minute with a good low finish. Louisville might have been disappointed not to take better advantage of its pressure early, though, as Davis’ goal proved its only shot on target in the half.
2. The Rhinos have had a more adventurous approach at times this season, but it hasn’t always resulted in producing consistent threats on goal with the side sitting in the bottom-third of the league in shots on goal going into Wednesday’s game. That proved the case again in Louisville, but the Rhinos took advantage of the best chance they created as Jochen Graf’s industriousness came into the spotlight again. The forward’s work-rate has been an important facet for the Rhinos’ success this season, and so it proved again with his composed finish that arrived at just the right moment to level the score before halftime.
3. After a second half that produced few chances the game appeared set to finish all square until a handball by Ryan Felix off a free kick by Oscar Jimenez gave the hosts a gilt-edged chance to grab a crucial victory. Luke Spencer duly converted, and with it boosted Louisville’s hopes of vying for the USL Regular Season Championship. Now only two points back of Western Conference-leader Real Monarchs SLC with five games to go, Louisville has plenty to aim for down the final stretch of the season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Guy Abend, Louisville City FC – Abend kept the tempo moving for Louisville throughout the game as the hosts controlled possession and the flow with Abend and Paolo DelPiccolo directing the way.
Louisville City FC vs. Ottawa Fury FC – September 24, 2 p.m. ET, TD Place
Rochester Rhinos at Richmond Kickers – September 23, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium