Despite an irritating wind and just over three hundred mildly interested onlookers, Louisville City managed to pick up its sixth straight USL win on Saturday at the Ontario Soccer Center against Toronto FC II. The win marks the Bourbons’ third road win running, and, thanks to Rochester’s surprise loss to Charlotte Independence, keeps Louisville City in second place in the Eastern conference just 5 points away from the top spot with a game in hand on the Rhinos.
Much like early in the season, this was a game of two halves for Team Purple. City seemed more interested in complaining about bad calls to the referee than defending against the occasional TFCII foray into the purple defensive third of the field. That came back to bite Louisville in the 20th minute when an “inadvertent” offside flag caused the LCFC defense to stop playing while Mo Babouli charged on toward goal and scored, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead after the ref rescinded the offside flag. City was obviously pretty upset about that sequence of events, and let it seemingly bother them the rest of the half. MAG RAM and Kadeem Dacres both had some decent chances to score about ten or so minutes after the opening goal, but neither was able to get a clean strike on the ball and Quillan Roberts calmly cleaned up both shots to put the game 1-0 at halftime.
The second, as I mentioned, was quite different. Louisville City held most of the ball but weren’t able to turn possession into meaningful chances until the 58th minute when Matt Fondy, who played his #9 role perfectly all game, set up Kadeem Dacres for a great strike at the top of Toronto’s penalty box to equalize.
After that, Louisville poured on the pressure, sending almost all of its outfield players into Toronto’s half of the field for some stretches. The gamble paid off about ten minutes later off of a broken play from an Enrique Montano corner. Toronto halfway managed to clear Montano’s place kick, but the ball only made it to the top of the box where, despite Quillan Roberts’s best efforts, Niall McCabe rifled a shot through most of the Reds team into the net to put the Bourbons ahead 1-2. Roberts quickly earned a yellow card for dissent after moving faster than I’ve ever seen a goalkeeper ever run to go yell at the referee.
Just over five minutes later, Bryan Burke scored again for City on a fantastic individual play. On a half-field run, Burke beat three defenders in a row before firing a shot past the keeper and scoring Team Purple’s last goal of the match, Burke’s first of the season and first ever for Louisville City.
It was awesome. Just wanted to leave that here.
Not long after that, Ilija Ilic, who subbed on for MAG RAM, nearly earned a penalty after getting shoved down with the ball near the top of the box, but the ref didn’t see anything in it and motioned to play on. In the 80th minute, Tworonto made things interesting off a good piece of offense in the box that led to a Jordan Hamilton shot that Scott Goodwin seemed to block and collect before losing it behind him and into the net. It was a little fluky but probably deserved by Hamilton, who played well for T2 all match.
Sean Reynolds subbed on shortly after that for Dacres, which meant it was kill the ball time, and despite four minutes of added time, there would be no more goals and City would leave Canada with three points. Fun game, fun times, bad refereeing, great result. See y’all on Wednesday back at Slugger!