Louisville City FC defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-0 at Slugger Field on Saturday night.
A brace by Cameron Lancaster and a goal by Niall McCabe gave City all three points in front of 8,741 fans to pip the Tampa Bay Rowdies for second place in the Eastern Conference. Charleston leads by three points, but City has two games in hand.
After breaking the curse against the New York Red Bulls, Louisville City FC head coach James O’Connor opted for the same 5-4-1, but with the wing backs pushing upfield to create more a 3-4-3.
Though early, the offense was a major question mark. O’Connor seems to have found the answer as City have scored 11 goals in the past three matches.
“I’m very pleased,” O’Connor said. “I thought we played some really good football. We caused them a lot of problems.”
After missing his first chance of the game, Lancaster made amends burying his second chance to give City the lead. In the eighth minute, Lancaster curled his free kick over the Pittsburgh wall. Riverhounds goalkeeper Trey Mitchell got his fingertips on the ball, but not enough as the Englishman scored his third goal of the season.
Having extra players going forward created an abundance of chances for City as they enjoyed an 11-2 shot advantage in the first half. Possession was also in favor of the boys in purple, 58%-42%.
Missed chances after Lancaster’s opener was a cause for concern as City had a plethora of opportunities to add to the lead. The crowd had quieted for a brief period as Pittsburgh played much better in the first ten minutes of the second half then they did for all of the first.
Brian Ownby, who has become the central figure in City’s attack, showed his quality that led to City’s second goal in the 64th minute. After stumbling evading a tackle, Ownby went past his marker and danced to the end line. He laid off to Lancaster, who tapped the ball home to make it 2-0.
“That’s where I’m at my best, running at the defender flat-footed,” Ownby said. “I was lucky to get around him. I just took my time, and Cam got in a good spot. It was an easy goal for him.”
Substitutes McCabe and Richard Ballard combined to put the game to rest in the 78th minute. Ballard dribbled past his defender with ease and chipped a ball the back line to McCabe, who calmly finessed his shot past Mitchell.
“I know Richie likes to cut inside on his right foot,” McCabe said. “All the defenders shifted over towards him and created a big gap for me. He played a great ball in, I managed to get it on my left foot which isn’t my strongest, but I just managed to poke it in the back of the net. That’s all that counts.”
Louisville City is on the road for the next match against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.