Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” He must have been talking about Louisville City’s results at home in 2016.
Once again, the boys in purple fell behind to an early goal, were denied a clear penalty later, but peppered the away goal and secured a late draw. Paco Craig’s header salvaged a point against Rochester on Saturday night in a 1-1 draw at Slugger Field.
Louisville City was again plagued by turnovers and poor touches in the final third. A turnover by Kadeem Dacres and poor positioning by Greg Ranjitsingh led to a “cheap goal”, as Coach James O’Connor called it, and City fell behind yet again in the first half. Yet, once again the club came out and fought hard in the second half, and while there were many frustrating moments, they finally secured a point when a rebound from a Ben Newnam free kick was headed home by Craig.
O’Connor lamented after the match the fact that the team looked tired, saying he didn’t understand why the team looked so lethargic. However, he was proud of the fight they showed in the second half, and was very thankful to the supporters. “I thought the supporters, in the second half, were absolutely tremendous,” he said. “I think they really stood with the guys…you could constantly hear them cheering the guys on. I think they really played a parttonight.”
The match was cagey to start, with both teams finding it difficult to find space in which to operate. Ranjitsingh was called upon in the 6th minute to make a key save, and pushed a long shot out for a corner.
A few minutes later, City nearly conceded off of a turnover yet again. Sean Reynolds made a poor pass which led to a counter-attack down the wing, but the cross was headed just wide of the goal, much to the relief of Ranjitsingh.
The first chance of the match for LCFC came in the 11th minute, when a great ball was played into the area. However, Hoffman and a teammate both went for the ball and collided, leading to a poor shot from Andrew Lubahn that went well over the bar for a goal kick.
Louisville City fell behind early in the match, as has become the trend. A turnover in midfield by Dacres led to a breakaway, and Christian Volesky was able to race onto the ball, hold off Reynolds, and slot past a frozen Ranjitsingh for the 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. The goal was frustrating for everyone in attendance, as Ranjitsingh had plenty of time to charge the ball and get to it, yet chose not to. On top of that, after turning it over, Dacres stood and watched the action go the other way, rather than helping track back to prevent the break.
City were lucky not to fall behind further in the 21st minute, as a cross from the wing found an attacker in the area for Rochester. However, the ball bounced a tiny bit harder than he anticipated, and his side-volley effor was scuffed off his boot.
A minute later, it took a terrific effor and quick reactions from the Rochester goalkeeper prevent Hoffman from finishing off a terrific pass through the middle. Then, in the 23rd minute, Dacres drew a free kick just outside the area on the left. The free kick from Lancaster was palmed away as it headed for the far upper 90, and the ensuing corner kick routine ended with him easily collecting the ball for a goal kick.
The crowd erupted in boos in the 38th minute, when Hoffman was taken down from behind with no penalty given. Replays showed it was a clear-cut foul in the area, but the official emphatically waived off the protests and sent play the other way. Ranjitsingh was called into action a few more times in the half, and he was able to hold it to a one-goal disadvantage.
The second half went as it always does with this team this season. Louisville City began to pour on the pressure, began to create chances in the area…and could not pull the trigger or get them on target. Two great chances inside the first twenty minutes of the half went begging, none bigger than the play that came to Lubahn in the box. He struggled to get it under control, and was unable to beat the keeper once he got the shot away. Then, after Magnus Rasmussen was introduced into the game, he made a terrific skill move to get free, and his cross into the area was blasted inches past the post by Hoffman.
Another chance went begging in the 76th minute, when a great ball was played from the back line, over the entire defense and landing in front of Hoffman. Despite being impeded by the defender, he was able to track down the ball but fired his shot well over the bar from about fifteen yards out.
Yet again, Louisville City got a free kick in a dangerous area, as Kadeem was taken down about twenty-five yards out in the 84th minute. Finally, Louisville City made them pay. A free kick was whipped in by Newnam, and the frozen keeper watched it curl around him and hit the post. Guy Abend tried to head home the rebound and headed it sideway to Craig, who buried it into the back of the net with his forehead to tie the match at 1-1.
Deep in stoppage time, Louisville City got a three on two break after a cleared corner, but the defense did just enough to slow it down. The ball was sent out from Dacres to Hoffman, but his shot from the wing was pushed wide of the goal. City got one final chance, sending the crowd to their feet, as a free kick was sent into the box, but the keeper easily claimed it, and once more the boys in purple had to settle for a draw at home.
Louisville City now travels to the Big Apple to take on the Sugar Free Red Bulls on Friday night. This will be a vital match, and if Louisville City fails to win, their hopes of first place–and possibly second place–could be over.