Louisville City suffered their first defeat of the 2017 season on Saturday. After the boys in purple had won 2-1 on April at Slugger Field, Tampa evened the series winning 2-0 at Al Lang Stadium.
City won the battle of inches in the first half, outmuscling Tampa and winning the 50-50 challenges. They turned them into quality chances but failed to convert.
The first chance went to Mark-Anthony Kaye in the 15th minute. Luke Spencer held up play in the center of the field and turned to goal. He found Kaye streaking down the left flank toward the goal and played a through ball in his path. Kaye fired a low shot that beat Tampa goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but it hit the bar and out of play for a goal-kick.
City’s issues going forward has been noticeable this season. Seven goals in seven games do not translate to success, and City is fortunate to be undefeated. Teams that have scored fewer goals than Louisville City sit either mid-table or lower. City’s offense continued to struggle with five shots and zero on target.
A reason why low offensive output have not negatively affected the team is purely due to goalkeeping by Tim Dobrowolski. He continued his run of good form, making a pair of saves on Darwin Jones and Joe Cole in the 55th minute to keep the score at 0-0.
However, he could do nothing about Georgi Hristov’s opener in the 59th minute. Hristov made his way into the box dribbling past Oscar Jimenez and fired a shot on goal. It deflected off Sean Totsch and left Dobrowolski flat-footed as it flew past him to the far post.
Louisville responded immediately in the 62nd minute. Brian Ownby fired a laser outside the box, but Pickens just grazed it over the ball for a corner. He made another save on the ensuing corner to keep the lead.
Tampa doubled the advantage and secured the win in the 73rd minute. After absorbing the City pressure, Joe Cole sent a long ball to Deshorn Brown. Brown outpaced Totsch and Paco Craig and fired on goal. Dobrowolski made the fingertip save, but was not enough as it flew into the net.
With the loss, City remains fourth in the Eastern Conference with 12 points.
Louisville City returns to the field in the US Open Cup against Tartan Devils FC on Wednesday, May 17. Their next league match will be against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, May 20.