LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Eastern Conference Final of the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs will feature a rematch as No. 1-seed Louisville City FC and the No. 7-seed New York Red Bulls II meet on Saturday night at Slugger Field with Louisville looking to advance to its first USL Cup and the Red Bulls II aiming to continue the defense of their championship. #LOUvNY kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on the USL Match Center.
@LouCityFC is in its third consecutive Eastern Conference Final, but will host the contest for the first time after having visited the Rochester Rhinos (2015) and Red Bulls II (2016) in the past two years. City held the lead against New York when the teams met at Red Bull Arena last season as Paco Craig scored the opening goal of the game, only for New York’s Florian Valot to equalize with 16 minutes to go in regulation. The Red Bulls II then went on to take victory in a penalty shootout to advance to the USL Cup.
Louisville will be hoping its homefield advantage this time pays dividends, with the side perfect in five home playoff games at Slugger Field in the past three seasons. That string of results continued this past Saturday in a 1-0 victory against the Rhinos, with Brian Ownby’s goal in the 77th minute the difference. After taking victory in both prior meetings between itself and New York this season, Louisville could enter confident of a first USL Cup visit.
@NYRBII has put in a strong run of form itself to return to the Eastern Conference Final, earning its first two road victories in the USL Cup Playoffs in defense of its championship. The Red Bulls II’s form is reminiscent of their road success last season, when they set a USL regular-season record with 13 away victories.
Leading the charge is forward Stefano Bonomo, who has three goals in two playoff games after recording both tallies in a 2-1 extra time victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies this past Saturday night. Bonomo has now scored 13 goals in 15 games this season at a rate of a goal every 92.3 minutes. Bonomo found the net when the Red Bulls II and Louisville last met on July 29, a 2-1 victory for City at Slugger Field, and will be hoping to continue his superlative form as New York aims for its third victory in Louisville in its history.
39 – Louisville has scored 39 second-half goals this season, including the USL Cup Playoffs, 15 more than in the first halves of games.
738 – The Red Bulls II took 738 touches in opposition penalty areas during the regular season, trailing only Louisville’s total of 792.
Louisville (3-4-3) – GK: Greg Ranjitsingh; D: Sean Totsch, Paco Craig, Tarek Morad; M: Kyle Smith, Speedy Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez; F: George Davis IV, Luke Spencer, Niall McCabe
New York (4-2-3-1) – GK: Evan Louro; D: David Najem, Jordan Scarlett, Hassan Ndam, Ethan Kutler; DM: Dan Metzger, Andrew Tinari; AM: Florian Valot, Arun Basuljevic, Junior Flemmings; F: Stefano Bonomo
Louisville – None
New York – None
REF: SORIN STOICA
AR1: Brooke Mayo
AR2: Jeffrey Skinker
4TH: Greg Dopka