The Boys in Purple picked up yet another three points on the road on Saturday night, this time from a less-than-likely opponent in 2015 USL Champions Rochester Rhinos. Andy Lubahn scored a goal on a quick combination play in the 28th minute, and that was enough to provide the margin of victory for Louisville City’s first ever win against the Rhinos in four tries.
James O’Connor started a lineup that I thought a little curious for this match. Paco Craig earned his first start for the Kings of the Ohio at centerback pairing with Sean Reynolds, while Enrique Montano got a second consecutive starting nod at left back with Ben Newnam serving the second of his three-game suspension, and the ever-present Kyle Smith was on the right. DelPiccolo and Quinn renewed their midfield partnership, and Davis IV, McCabe, Lubahn, and Hoffman started in attack.
Louisville started out on the front foot at Rhinos Stadium and were able to put pressure on Rochester early, but nothing led to any chances. The Rhinos got their legs under them after about ten minutes and became dangerous, playing the ball mostly in the air and Volesky sending in a couple crosses from wide areas. It was the Rhinos who delivered the first real scoring chances of the match as Christian Volesky took two shots on goal, but Ranjitsingh delivered two strong saves.
Then, in the 28th minute, Louisville City forced a Rochester turnover in midfield and made the Rhinos pay dearly. Aodhan Quinn delivered a sharp diagonal ball from midfield to Cuatro near the top left corner of Rochester’s 18 yard box, and he deftly laid the ball off to Chandler Hoffman, who then quickly flicked it to Andy Lubahn. Lubahn made a short charging run through the Rochester defense and hit a left footed shot that beat the keeper to the far post. The goal marked the first time Louisville had ever scored against Rochester, and was Lubahn’s fourth goal of the year. Hoffman will probably earn credit for the assist, his first of the season.
After that goal, it was mostly a “hang on tight” affair. Louisville continued to try and press the attack and hold the ball, but didn’t look much like scoring for the rest of the match aside from a header on goal from Hoffman in the 58th minute. That said, City was stout in defense and did a very good job smothering Rochester’s offense. Bob Lilley made several substitutions to try and find a goal, including Kenardo Forbes and Duba Dos Santos, but no goals came for the Rhinos. After six minutes of stoppage time after the clock hit 90′, the whistle blew and Louisville City picked up the points.
The win was the Kings’ 9th of the season and puts them on 31 points. The loss drops Rochester to seventh, their fourth loss of the season, and their first home loss in the league since August of 2014. That’s a big monkey to get off Louisville’s back, and even moreso because of Rochester’s prowess in their own park. On to Toronto on Tuesday!