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Louisville’s Open Cup Run Ends in Chicago

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 07/18/18, 11:02PM EDT

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Fire’s Katai has first-half goal, assist to lead hosts into Semifinals


Photo courtesy Chicago Fire Soccer Club

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Louisville City FC’s run in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup came to an end in the Quarterfinals as the Chicago Fire scored twice in the first half on the way to a 4-0 victory at Toyota Park that sent the former champions into the Semifinals on a disappointing night for the defending USL Cup champion.

The Fire opened the scoring in the 16th minute as leading scorer Nemanja Nikolic flicked home a header from eight yards into the right corner of the net from a cross by Aleksandar Katai. Louisville’s Brian Ownby almost got in behind the Fire defense only for a big saving challenge by Brandon Vincent to deny the opportunity and the Fire then doubled their lead through Katai, who roofed his finish after the Fire were able to hold possession in the attacking third as the City FC defense got spread.

Oscar Jimenez almost had a chance to pull a goal back 11 minutes before halftime, but a loose touch as he tried to drive into the left channel saw him pull back and set up Cameron Lancaster for a low shot from the top of the penalty area that was saved. Katai continued to threaten for the hosts as Chicago was unfortunate not to add to its lead before the halftime break, but Lancaster also went close in the 41st minute as Louisville started to put together some better pieces of play as the first half went on.

The danger from Chicago’s attack was never far away, though, and Nikolic just missed out on a second in the 52nd minute as he slid his finish just wide of the left post on a low cross from the right by Diego Campos. Nikolic went close again seven minutes later as Louisville goalkeeper Tim Dowbrowolski made a big save to keep out a curling finish from 25 yards to the right corner to keep the visitors in the game.

Louisville had back-to-back chances with just over 20 minutes remaining as first Ilija Ilic couldn’t get clean contact on his header from Jimenez’s cross from the left, and then Paolo DelPiccolo sent his header wide on the second chance after Ownby kept the ball in play on the right. Jimenez also sent a free kick just wide with 10 minutes to go, but then a pair of red cards for the visitors to Kyle Smith and Magnus Rasmussen and a pair of goals by Chicago late on by Diego Campos and Elliot Collier put the result beyond doubt as Louisville’s tournament run came to an end.

Scoring
16’ – CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (Aleksandar Katai)
32’ – CHI – Aleksandar Katai (Bastian Schweinsteiger)
90’ – CHI – Diego Campos
90+2’ – CHI – Elliot Collier (Jorge Corrales)

Chicago Fire: GK Richard Sanchez; D Diego Campos, Johan Kappelhof, Brandon Vincent, Jorge Corrales; M Dax McCarty (Tony Tchani 70’), Brandt Bronico, Elliot Collier, Bastian Schweinsteiger (, Jonathan Campbell 83’), Aleksandar Katai (Rafael Ramos 74’); F Nemanja Nikolic

Substitutes not used: GK Stefan Cleveland, Drew Conner, Daniel Johnson, Alan Gordon

Louisville City FC: GK Tim Dowbrowolski; D Pat McMahon (Shaun Francis 73’), Paco Craig, Sean Totsch; M Kyle Smith, Devon Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez; F George Davis IV (Ilija Ilic 58’), Cameron Lancaster (Magnus Rasmussen 61’), Brian Ownby

Substitutes not used: GK Chris Hubbard

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