Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
There’s nothing better than going into a big game with momentum and that’s exactly what Louisville City FC has as it prepares to host Phoenix Rising FC in the 2018 USL Cup on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET | Match Center | ESPN2) at Lynn Stadium in Louisville.
The home side has won nine consecutive games dating back to Sept. 19 and remains unbeaten all-time at home (10 wins, 0 defeats) in the USL Cup Playoffs. Here are nine numbers to take away from Louisville’s impressive run.
251 – After giving up a stoppage time goal to Kenardo Forbes in a 2-2 draw with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Sept. 15, Louisville City FC’s began a 251-minute shutout streak that helped jumpstart its winning run. Four days later the side posted with a 3-0 road victory against Penn FC and continued three days after that with a 4-0 win against Ottawa Fury FC in front of a crowd of 7,729 fans at Slugger Field. Louisville jumped out to a 4-0 lead the following weekend against ATL UTD 2 but saw its shutout streak snapped when Romario Williams scored a consolation goal in the 71st minute of LouCity’s 4-1 win.
84.21 – Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh wasn’t the only player responsible for the side’s 251-minute shutout streak, but the 25-year-old has more than played his part in the team’s success down the stretch. Ranjitsingh has recorded 16 saves in seven appearances over this winning run for a save percentage of 84.21, more than 18 points higher than his regular-season mark of 66.67 percent.
2 – Louisville and Ranjitsingh have kept four clean sheets in the team’s last nine games, the most recent of which came in 2-0 victory over Bethlehem Steel FC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The win marked the second year in a row that Louisville eliminated Bethlehem from the USL Cup Playoffs, having recorded a 4-0 shutout victory over Steel FC in the 2017 conference quarterfinals.
62 – Brian Ownby scored a brace to lead Louisville to victory against Steel FC in that matchup, breaking his season-long duck to net his first two goals of the season. The midfielder, who missed a chunk of the regular season due to injury, has produced some of his best play down the stretch. Ownby has won 62 duels since Louisville’s streak began, second-most in the USL behind FC Cincinnati’s Forrest Lasso and Ottawa Fury FC’s Steevan Dos Santos over that stretch.
22.22 – Ownby’s brace against Bethlehem accounted for two of the 28 goals that Louisville has scored over its nine-game winning run, as the side has averaged just over three goals per contest. A key factor of that potent offensive production has been the team’s clinical finishing in front of goal. Louisville has converted its shots at a 22.22 percent rate over its last nine games, matching the LA Galaxy II for the highest shot conversion rate since Sept. 19.
7 – Unsurprisingly, USL Golden Boot-winner Cameron Lancaster carried a solid amount of the scoring burden, finding the back of the net seven times down the stretch to break the USL’s single-season record with 25 goals on the campaign – surpassing former teammate Matt Fondy. Lancaster’s seven strikes over the last seven weeks are the most in the league and have helped propel Louisville back to the USL Cup.
5 – Lancaster’s last goal came in Louisville’s 4-1 victory over Indy Eleven in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. The Englishman didn’t steal the headlines that night however, as it was Oscar Jimenez’s superb delivery from set pieces setting up Niall McCabe for a pair of goals on either side of halftime to help Louisville advance. Jimenez has recorded five assists from set plays in Louisville’s nine-game winning run, while no other USL player has more than two over the same time frame.
10,059 – For the third straight season, Louisville City FC and the New York Red Bulls II squared off in the Eastern Conference Final with LouCity hosting at Slugger field for the second consecutive season. As was the case when the sides met in 2017, it was Louisville that got the better of their Eastern Conference rival as Speedy Williams’ brace and goals from Brian Ownby, Ilija Ilic and Luke Spencer helped the side to a 5-1 victory in front of a jubilant crowd of 10,059 fans.
1 – If Louisville can emerge victorious in the USL Cup on Thursday, the club would stand alone as the first back-to-back champion in the league’s modern era. A win would also move the side onto 10 straight wins, matching the USL record set earlier in the campaign by 2018 USL Regular Season champion FC Cincinnati.