Louisville City put on masterclass performance in 9-0 thrashing of Tartan Devils Oak Avalon.
After suffering their first defeat of the 2017 season, Louisville City responded with a resounding 9-0 victory over Tartan Devils Oak Avalon in the 2nd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.
City has not been at their offensive best for the past few weeks and haven’t scored in over 250 minutes of game time. They gave not the slightest hint that they were struggling with this performance.
The first notable change was the formation. Coach James O’Connor opted with a 3-4-3 formation to be more attack minded. The strategy payed major dividends as City dominated the Devils with four first-half goals and put the game to rest inside the opening 30 minutes.
Ilija Ilic, starting his first game of the season, opened the scoring in the 8th minute. Richard Ballard collected a short clear by Devils goalkeeper Zach Varga. He cut inside and threaded a pass between multiple Devil defenders to find Ilic, who fired first time. The ball hit the post, but hit Varga’s back off the rebound and flew into the goal.
Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye doubled the advantage in the 16th minute. The Devils cleared away the pressure City put on. Sean Totsch gathered the ball on the right flank and sent in a cross. Kaye headed across goal to the right post for his first goal of the season.
A rebound goal by Richard Ballard gave the boys in purple a 3-0 lead. City’s high press forced an abundance of turnovers. As a result, they enjoyed 78% possession in the first half.
Ballard would assist the fourth goal of the half in the 41st minute. He danced around a Devils defender and had a clear path to the goal. Varga stepped up to cover the angle, so Ballard slipped a pass to Ilic, who chipped past for his second goal of the match.
Four first-half goals are the record for Louisville City in a U.S. Open Cup match.
City rotated the squad with three substitutions to begin the second half. Guy Abend, Oscar Jimenez and Niall McCabe came on for Tarek Morad, Paolo DelPiccolo and George Davis IV respectively. The substitutions did not take away any momentum as City blitzed the Devils for five more goals.
Cameron Lancaster made it 5-0 in the 54th minute. The high press forced a Devils turnover. Ilic played the ball to Lancaster, who faked a shot around a defender and fired to the right post past Varga.
Totsch scored his first goal in purple in the 68th minute. Totsch ran around his marker and headed Oscar Jimenez’s cross past Varga to the left post to make it 6-0.
Additional goals by Jimenez, Lancaster, and Abend completed the demolition of the Devils and booked their ticket to the third round. City outshot the Devils 32-2 and had over 75% possession to finish the game.
Louisville City return to the pitch on Saturday, May 20 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.