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Louisville City jump to 1st place after 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies

In an early season matchup of what could potentially be an Eastern Conference final, Louisville City FC defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 at Slugger Field on Saturday.
With the victory, Louisville jumps to share the lead in the Eastern Conference with St. Louis FC with a game in hand.
“We’ve got a good team here,” coach James O’Connor said. “There was a lot of talk about Tampa. They’ve spent a lot of money. Got a lot of talent. But equally, we’ve got some really good players here. So, delighted for our guys and proud of their achievement tonight.”
Despite Tampa’s quality, City’s defense kept the Rowdies’ attack quiet all night. Because of the small pitch, City pressed the ball and didn’t give Tampa’s danger men the time to operate.
The first real chance of the game went to Tampa Bay in the 19th minute. Georgi Hristov gathered in a diagonal cross in the box. He created space but fired up and over from an awkward angle.
George Davis IV continued his scintillating form when he opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Paolo Del Piccolo centered a ball to Luke Spencer in the box. Instead of shooting from a tight angle, he passed to an open Davis, who fired a low shot past Tampa goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.
“Luke is really good at his hold up play,” Davis said. “So I knew if I got around him, that would be an option. I just concentrated on taking a good first touch and scoring the goal. And it worked out for me.”
City almost doubled the advantage in the 71st minute. Cameron Lancaster connected with a bending cross sent in by Del Piccolo. His low header forced a great save by goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
Lancaster caught Tampa on the counter to put City up 2-0 in the 87th minute. City cleared and the ball fell right to the feet of Lancaster, whose beautiful first touch sent him on the breakaway. He calmly chipped Dickens to score his second goal of the season.
The deficit didn’t demoralise Tampa, who scored in the 89th to keep the pressure on. Deshorn Brown went across goal to find Martin Paterson to score from close range.
Niall McCabe returned to the starting XI after an injury kept him out of the squad since last season.
“It felt amazing,” McCabe said. “It was a lot of hard work. It was my first 90 minutes since last August maybe. It’s a long time and my legs were feeling it in the last moments of the game. But it felt really great to be back out there. Nothing better.”
City travels down I-71 to Nippert Stadium to take on FC Cincinnati Saturday, April 22. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.