Before I talk about the game, my hat is off to @LCFCRelated for putting that title photo together in like 90 seconds. Frankly, that picture is about all you need to see to tell you what happened in this match.
Going into this game, you could be forgiven for thinking that Louisville City might have a difficult task ahead of them in Harrisburg City Islanders. It was an away match against a team trying to make the playoffs. City had just played one of the worst games of the season at home against Montreal a week before. The field made the laid-on turf at the Alamodome look palatable.
Fortunately, Matt Fondy’s hair put all that to rest about two minutes into the game, converting a well-taken corner kick by Enrique Montano and putting the Royals ahead from the get-go. Obviously, it was a tone-setting goal, and Louisville City played the rest of the half with their cleats, complete with 4 inch studs so they wouldn’t slip on the Skyline field, firmly planted on Harrisburg’s neck. About 10 minutes later, Fondy picked up another goal on a 1v2 counter attack and beat Nick Noble on a shot to the far post of a goal that looked a lot like the ones the YMCA uses down at the Water Tower.
But the pressure still didn’t stop. Juan Guzman was a machine turning the City Islanders over in the midfield, and again started a counter in the 22nd minute that led to Enrique Montano getting time and space on the left side of the Harrisburg penalty area. Montano put in another great ball that found Kadeem Dacres alone on the other side of the box, which he quickly side-volleyed in for his sixth goal of the season.
But the Royals STILL weren’t done scoring in the half. Niall McCabe, who started for the injured Charlie Adams, cut in from the left and had a defender to beat, and was promptly taken down inside the 18 yard box, earning a penalty. Matt Fondy took it and fooled the keeper for another easy score just before halftime.
The 0-4 lead was Louisville City’s biggest half time lead ever, as if you needed me to tell you that.
The second half started a bit shakier. Harrisburg, making three quick halftime substitutions, controlled a lot of the ball early on in the second frame as it looked like City took their foot off the gas. After surrendering a few counter attacks themselves, City finally conceded in the 56th minute when Jose Barril got behind the back line and his shot beat Scott Goodwin to bring the Islanders within three goals. As if that was some kind of consolation.
Harrisburg continued to press, but it was Louisville City that put together most of the shots after conceding. Fondy finally tallied again in the 74th minute off yet another Montano cross for a nice goal that would cap off the scoring for the rest of the game. Matt Fondy is the only player to have scored four goals in a USL game this season, which brings him up to sixteen total and right behind Rob Vincent and Danni Konig for the Golden Boot.
The win was Louisville City’s seventh in eight games, and brings the Royals to within three points of Rochester with seven games to go.
Some other notes I took while watching this defenestration of Harrisburg’s playoff dreams:
- Several City Islanders fans professed their love for “those Islanders,” which made me wonder “What about these Islanders? On the field?”
- At least the field was grass.
- A 90-year old Charles Schultz drew better lines than whoever marked up that field tonight.
- Hey, ads that run on the screen during the game! Fox Sports is impressed.
- GUY ABEND SIGHTING! YAY!
- I think I heard dogs barking after Harrisburg scored. Is that a thing, or just a coincidence? I kinda hope it’s a thing.
- The broadcast ended pretty abruptly, don’t you think? Announcers were like “hey it’s raining I want to go home.” And so they did.
- I made a joke on Twitter about how I was hoping that that blue anthropomorphic dolphin in the Dauphin County Recycling ads was just a mascot and not a misunderstanding of what a dauphin was, but damnit if someone didn’t call me out on the literal French translation of “dauphin,” which actually is dolphin. I still stand by my joke. The more you know!