Louisville City FC kicked off the 2017 season with a goalless draw with Kings’ Cup rival, St. Louis FC on March 25.
Louisville City’s squad was stretched thin with international duty and suspensions dating back from last season. However, they were still able to dominate the game with majority possession, a 21-4 shot advantage and created 16 corners.
The first chance of the match came in the eighth minute on a corner kick. Newcomer Oscar Jimenez curled a cross into the box. Tarek Morad redirected the ball to the right post, but it banged against the crossbar and St. Louis cleared.
Louisville native Richard Ballard came close ten minutes later. The rookie midfielder cradled in Paolo DelPiccolo’s cross and dribbled past his marker. He blasted a low shot but hit the side netting.
Despite having a makeshift squad, DelPiccolo believed the team’s performance garnered more than just a point.
“Disappointed we didn’t get three points because I thought we played well,” said DelPiccolo. “I thought we had good attitudes and deserved three points. But again, we’re not exactly shattered.”
A worrying sign came on the brink of halftime as City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh booted a kick downfield, but fell over clutching the inside of his upper leg. Ranjitsingh waved off the substitution, but Louisville City head coach James O’Connor made the decision to bring on Tim Dobrowolski.
Cameron Lancaster had a chance in the 75th minute after St. Louis mishandled Kyle Smith’s clear down field. Lancaster shot first time on the edge of the box but straight at St. Louis goalkeeper Devala Gorrick.
St. Louis almost stole three points in the 87th minute. Max Alvarez sent in a cross that AJ Cochran headed to the right post. The shot caught Dobrowolski flat-footed, but defenders on the line cleared.
Ballard praises the team’s effort, but highlights the importance of making the most of the chances created.
“We’re going to fight the full 90 minutes,” Ballard said. “We’re going to keep a good attitude and high intensity the whole game. Sometimes you just have to finish the opportunity to come away with three points.”
A slew of City players made their debuts against St. Louis. Ballard, Jimenez, Devon “Speedy” Williams, Brian Ownby and Sean Totsch all wore purple for the first time.
With the USL’s extended schedule, City will be on a short turnaround. They travel to face Orlando City B on March 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.