With tears welling in his eyes, Scott Goodwin looked at the media assembled after the match and tried to put into words what playing in his final match for Louisville City meant for him. “Coming in there for the last time was a tough feeling to know that I’m never going to be able to put this jersey on again,” he said as he fought his emotions. “I’m trying to linger around and keep it on as long as I can right now.”
The feeling is mutual, Scotty. We didn’t want to see you take it off, either.
Last night marked the final match for the first goalkeeper in club history, as his farewell was the big story in the club’s 2-0 victory over FC Montreal. Two goals in sixty seconds were enough to carry the team to their fifteenth consecutive result in league play, in a match that saw them dominate possession and shots while also being a man up for two-thirds of the night.
The opening minutes of the match saw LCFC unable to string much together in terms of attack, as Montreal pressed all over the pitch. That ended in the 11th minute, when a slow buildup through the middle led to George Davis IV getting a pass about 25 yds out. He turned, took a touch, and then curled a hard, low shot past the keeper into the lower far corner, putting the home side ahead 1-0.
A minute later, it was 2-0 when a cross came in from Kyle Smith, and Chandler Hoffman buried it home from close range to send the crowd into a frenzy. It was Hoffman’s eleventh goal of the season, putting him just one behind the league leader on the season.
As always, the LCFC attack down the right gave Montreal problems, as Smith and Kadeem Dacres combined to get numerous crosses into the area. Action somewhat died down over the next period, however, as neither team could really create any chances, despite the action being back-and-forth. Greg Ranjitsingh was forced into a save in the 31st minute, as a Montreal player got the ball about eight yards out coming off a free kick, but his shot while falling down rolled right into the keeper’s arms.
In the 34th minute, Greg came up big again, After Tarek Morad failed to head away a long ball, allowing it to fall to the feet of a Montreal forward, Greg rushed down to cut off the angle, and made a big save from close range to preserve the 2-0 lead.
The match turned even more in Louisville City’s favor in the 37th minute, as the referee handed out a red card to Montreal’s Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare, who had been sent down to the team for this match. The midfield captain committed a nasty foul on Dacres in midfield, rushing at him and delivering a forearm to the attacker’s jaw. The referee did not hesitate in brandishing the card, and he was serenaded off the pitch by the Coopers. Louisville City continued to dominate but did not score, and went into the break with the 2-0 advantage.
The second half saw the Montreal goal come under siege. While numerous chances were wasted—which Coach O’Connor chalked up to “poor decision making” in the offensive end—the boys in purple were denied three or four goals simply because of stellar plays by the defense. There were two goal-line clearances, a pair of shots that hit the frame, and some great saves from the Montreal keeper to prevent the third goal from going in. Despite facing twenty-five shots on the night, they refused to let the match get further out of hand.
The story of the night, however, was Goodwin. After being presented a framed jersey signed by his teammates prior to the match, he was not introduced until the 57th minute. Goodwin played a role in the outcome, as he came up with a crucial to help preserve the shutout. After the final whistle, his teammates surrounded him and, after Goodwin told them not to hurt him, they tossed him in the air half a dozen times much to everyone’s delight.
One of the reasons that Goodwin is so beloved by the fans is that he shows over and over how much he loves the supporters. “He’s been a role model for us since he first arrived,” Coach James O’Connor stated last night, discussing his team’s leader. “He’s led his life correctly off the field.” As he made his way off the pitch, he stopped constantly to take photos and sign autographs for the dozens of children who were lined up along the railing. After speaking with the press, he did the same outside the locker room—to the point that forty-five minutes after taking off his gloves for the final time in Louisville, he still hadn’t taken off that jersey yet. He did not disappear into the locker room until every single man, woman, and child waiting for him had gone home happy, whether it was a signed poster, one last photograph with him, or simply a shake of the hand and a “Thank you” for everything he has done here.
For Goodwin, today will be his final day in our city. He is packed up and ready to go, and he and his wife will begin the trip to Boston for a new adventure and a new career, one that will make a bigger impact in the world than playing a game ever could. But Goodwin said that it probably wouldn’t hit him fully until he left town today to make his journey north. “I’ll miss everything about our supporters group,” he said after the match. “That goes off the field as well. I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I have even just gone out to dinner with our supporters. They’ve become really good friends of ours and I think that speaks a lot to this club.”
Scott, you might be leaving town, but you will never leave our hearts. Thank you for everything.