LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The two most recent winners of the USL Cup will square off for a third consecutive time for the Eastern Conference Championship on Friday night as No. 2-seed Louisville City FC plays host to the No. 5-seed New York Red Bulls II at Slugger Field in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs, with each of the previous two playoff meetings between the clubs having been decided by a penalty shootout. #LOUvNY kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.
@LouCityFC defeated the Red Bulls II a season ago 4-3 in a shootout after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes at Slugger Field, with local standout Richie Ballard scoring the decisive goal in the fifth round to earn Louisville its first trip to the USL Cup. Louisville has reached this stage of the postseason in each of its four seasons in the USL. The club’s pursuit of becoming the first team to win the USL Cup in back-to-back seasons continued last Saturday as a pair of goals by Brian Ownby earned a 2-0 win against No. 6-seed Bethlehem Steel FC, with the goals standing as Ownby’s first of the 2018 campaign.
@NYRBII recorded the biggest upset of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs so far to reach its third consecutive Eastern Conference Final as it defeated No. 1-seed FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium behind a 12th-minute goal by Amando Moreno. The Red Bulls II have yet to concede this postseason, having also claimed a 1-0 win on the road in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Charleston Battery two weeks ago. New York took a 4-3 shootout victory in the 2016 edition of the Eastern Conference Final against Louisville, when current U.S Men’s National Team center back Aaron Long was among those that scored for the Red Bulls II to send the side to USL Cup.
108 – USL Golden Boot-winner Cameron Lancaster has registered 108 shots this season, the most of any player in the league in 2018
19 – Red Bulls II defender Hassan Ndam has won 19 of 25 duels so far this postseason, the most of any defender in this edition of the USL Cup Playoffs.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Louisville City FC 74%, New York Red Bulls II 26%
Louisville City FC – GK: Greg Ranjitsingh; D: Kyle Smith, Paco Craig, Alex Souahy, Oscar Jimenez; DM: Niall McCabe, Paolo DelPiccolo; AM: Brian Ownby, Ilija Ilic, George Davis IV; F: Cameron Lancaster
New York Red Bulls II – GK: Evan Louro; D: Ethan Kutler, Hassan Ndam, Kevin Politz, Allan Yanes; DM: Andrew Tinari, Chris Lema; AM: Amando Moreno, Jose Aguinaga, Jared Stroud; F: Tom Barlow
Louisville – None
New York – None
REF: Ramy Touchan
AR1: Chris Elliott
AR2: Gjovalin Bori
4TH: Victor Rivas