Brian Ownby scored a goal and assisted on another, and Greg Ranjitsingh earned his second straight clean sheet as LouCity beat New York Red Bulls II for the first time in club history, 3-0.
LouCity opened the scoring in the 25th minute through Kyle Smith’s first goal of the season. Sean Totsch played a long ball to Ownby, who calmly collected on the right side of the box, playing the ball back into the penalty area to an unmarked Smith who fired the ball into the bottom left corner.
The goal came not long after NYRBII’s Vincent Bezecourt had two shots saved by Ranjitsingh in back-to-back minutes. The second, in the 19th minute, sent the LouCity keeper diving to his right to parry the ball away before it was eventually cleared.
The rest of the first half saw few chances for both sides. In minute 30, Paco Craig nodded an Oscar Jimenez free kick just over the bar. Eleven minutes later, New York striker Brandon Allen couldn’t capitalize on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, sailing the kick high over the bar.
Red Bulls II started the second half on the attack and looked poised to equalize early. In the 51st minute, Ranjitsingh came up big with another diving save to keep a point-blank shot by Allen from going in.
Less than four minutes later though, Ownby put any thoughts of an equalizer to rest. A perfect long ball over the top found the winger all alone behind the NYRBII back line with only the keeper to beat. Ownby camly slotted it past Louro for his third goal of the season.
Red Bulls II never really threatened again, managing only two more shots on target that Ranjitsingh handled comfortably.
Richard Ballard, an 80th-minute substitute, made the most of his few minutes on the field, netting his second goal in as many games in the 93rd minute. Ballard faced little opposition as he charged down the right wing, cut left into the box and fired a left-footed shot past NYRBII keeper Evan Louro.
Although LouCity dominated the scoreline, NYRBII still had the bulk of the possession (59-41 percent) and was able to get 13 shots away – five of them on target, all stopped by Ranjitsingh, many in spectacular fashion.
On the attacking side, however, LouCity made the most of its chances. Of the team’s eight shots, three were on target – all of which found the back of the net. That pleased Coach James O’Connor.
“I think we took our chances,” O’Connor said after the game. “I thought we were very clinical.
“We’ve had games where we’ve had chances,” he said, “we just haven’t been able to capitalize on them. I think today we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”
With the three points, LouCity now sits one point behind second-place Tampa Bay, with three games in hand. More importantly, the victory breaks the Curse of the Baby Bulls, a team LouCity had not beaten in five prior meetings, including the heartbreaking loss in last season’s USL Eastern Conference final.
“Obviously, we wanted that championship last year, but a little revenge is nice,” Smith said.