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Louisville City 1-0 Charlotte Independence

After the goalscoring bonanza that our boys in purple had been on recently, I suppose the Louisville City faithful were due for a nailbiter. A questionable handball in the 18 yard box led to Louisville City’s only goal, a well-taken MAG RAM penalty kick in the first half that provided the only score of the game in front of 7,469 fans.

Charlotte brought a new look lineup to Louisville for the game that featured Colorado Rapids super-recent loanee Dominique Badji (F), but was missing their best player in Jorge Herrera. Louisville City started the match with the bulk of possession while Charlotte mostly sat behind the ball and tried to beat City over the top with long balls when they could manage to break up play. However, it seemed as though Charlotte had the better chances to score in the first half until the 34th minute when referee Aaron Hernandez awarded Louisville City a penalty after Bryan Burke’s cross struck Patrick Slogic’s arm.

The Laws of the Game, Law 12 states that the referee shall award a direct free kick when an opposing player “handles the ball deliberately.” Refs, fans, and commentators get this rule wrong all the time, as somehow the word “deliberately” got interpreted to mean “when the player’s arm is not in a natural position,” which isn’t in the Laws. “Deliberate,” in soccer terms, anyway, means when the player deliberately creates that contact or uses unintentional contact in a deliberate attempt to control or manipulate the movement of the ball. It’s definitely up for debate whether Slogic was trying to change what direction the ball was going with his arm. People pay lawyers a lot of money to convince people about whether or not they did something intentionally. However, our opinions don’t matter, the judge’s referee’s does, and he said it was a penalty. MAG RAM made no mistake from the spot, and Louisville City took a 1-0 lead into half time. Up to the halftime whistle, City looked to have most of the ball but had a tough time finding seams in the Charlotte defense to exploit. That said, City had five shots in the half and forced four saves from recently minted Independence goalkeeper Matt Lampson.

The second half was quite different, as Charlotte came out of the gate with high pressure and constantly forced City turnovers in the middle of the field. Team Purple regained some composure and possession after about fifteen minutes and put together a rapid succession of corner kicks that the Bourbons weren’t able to convert. City’s best chance to double the lead came in the 65th minute as Juan Guzman got on the end of a loose ball near the top of the 18 yard box and rifled a shot at goal that was saved by Lampson. Lampson was clearly Charlotte’s man of the match, as he saved two other one on one chances from Kadeem Dacres and MAG RAM in the second half, and was otherwise a wall in goal.

Charlotte made use of all five of its subs in the second period and each, especially Ryan Findley, tried the resolve of City’s back line, but Connor Shanosky and Scotty Goodwin were up to the task. After four minutes of nervy stoppage time, the final whistle blew and Louisville City collected the three points. It wasn’t the Bourbons’ best performance, but a win’s a win and they don’t paint pictures in the box scores.

I wouldn’t be doing my job as an unpaid fan who writes about soccer if I didn’t mention that several of the Independence players acted like dicks during the match. There were several poor challenges, I’m surprised Alex Martinez managed to avoid a second yellow card after picking up his first in the third minute, I’m unsure how Slogic didn’t get a yellow for booting the ball into the right field wall after he got called for a foul, or how a Charlotte player didn’t get at least whistled for chucking a ball at Niall McCabe’s chest before a City throw-in. It was all childish stuff, and as much as the referee tried to influence the game it’s surprising he let all that stuff go. Oh well, USL ref gonna USL ref. Next up: a second trip to Pittsburgh. COME ON CITY.

Shots by period   Total 
CLT Independence  10 
Louisville City FC  11 
Corner kicks   Total 
CLT Independence 
Louisville City FC 
Saves by period   Total 
CLT Independence 
Louisville City FC 
Fouls   Total 
CLT Independence  14 
Louisville City FC  11