Photo courtesy of EM Dash Photography
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC capped off another incredible USL regular season in its three-year history by securing a 3-1 victory against the Richmond Kickers in front of 9,104 fans at Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday evening. Tarek Morad scored the opening goal for the club in the 33rd minute, while substitutes Richard Ballard and Mark-Anthony Kaye netted in the second half. Richmond’s Mallan Roberts scored the best goal of the game, however, hitting a volley from a beautiful cross sent into the box from Matthew Bolduc in the 45th minute. That goal gave Richmond a boost of confidence heading into halftime, but the momentum swung back into Louisville’s direction in the 68th minute, when Luiz Fernando was shown a red card. With the win, Louisville finishes the regular season with an 18-6-8 overall record, while the Kickers finish the year 8-16-8 and fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
33’ – LOU – Tarek Morad
45’ – RIC – Mallan Roberts (Matthew Bolduc)
84’ – LOU – Richard Ballard (Kyle Smith)
86’ – LOU – Mark-Anthony Kaye (Devon Williams)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Louisville City’s first opponent in the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs is not set following a wild day of action across the league on Saturday. Rival FC Cincinnati recorded a thrilling 4-3 win against Toronto FC II to move it up the Eastern Conference table. Ranked No. 1 overall in the East, Louisville will have to wait and see if Bethlehem Steel FC can win on Sunday. Should Steel FC secure three points against Saint Louis FC, Louisville would host the New York Red Bulls II in the quarterfinals, while a loss or a tie in that match would mean Bethlehem would travel to play the No. 1 seed.
2. Louisville ends the 2017 USL regular season with the most points in its history, and the club also finishes first in the Eastern Conference for the first time. Finishing second in the conference in 2015 and 2016, Louisville has boasted a strong attack all year. Tarek Morad's penalty-kick goal in the first half was significant in that now every outfield player that has seen action for Louisville this regular season has scored. That fact epitomizes how difficult it will be for teams in the playoffs to control this talented Louisville team.
3. While the Kickers won’t be competing in the postseason, the club still has plenty to be proud of in 2017. Most notably, Richmond set a new average attendance record during the regular season, recording 4,665 fans per game. Since 2013, the Kickers have seen a 73 percent increase in attendance. “Your support for the Kickers transcends the sport of soccer and serves as a catalyst for growth for the entire city,” Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer, said on Thursday. “Because of you, there is no better atmosphere in Richmond than a packed City Stadium and we strongly believe the Kickers have reached a pivotal point in our history.”
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Tarek Morad, Louisville City FC – The defender scored the opening goal of the game, completed 82.1 percent of his passes and also recorded three tackles, two clearances and one interception in the victory.
Louisville City FC – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, TBA
Richmond Kickers – End of season