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Wilmington Hammerheads 1-4 Louisville City

Louisville City picked up another routine road victory on the superball-y turf of Legion Stadium on Sunday night in Wilmington. Chandler Hoffman picked up a brace in the process and tied up the USL golden boot race with Jack McBean, Guy Abend got on the board for the third time this season, and Aodhan Quinn reminded us that he’s pretty good on free kicks in the win.

City manager James O’Connor started a mostly first-choice lineup with Newnam, Morad, Craig, and Smith in the back, Quinn and Abend in the center, Davis IV, McCabe, and Dacres in attack and Hoffman on top. As yours truly predicted, Wilmington didn’t sit back and play defensive soccer in this game, and Louisville took advantage pretty quickly. City opened the match early with quite a bit of possession but were luck to avoid a goal from Wilmington in the fifth minute when the Hammerheads’ Austin Martz made a strong attacking run down the left and hit the post before Justin Moose knocked the rebound over the endline for a goal kick. Not long after that, though, City began to pour on the pressure on the Wilmington goal, and in the 12th minute Guy Abend struck for City to put the Kings in the lead.

City won its second corner kick of the match on a series of good attacks toward the right corner by Kadeem Dacres and Kyle Smith. Aodhan Quinn took the kick and hit it toward the back post where it was just partially cleared by Wilmington. Cuatro was close by and hit a low shot that was parried by the Wilmington Keeper, Ati. Smith got on the rebound and passed it back to the top of the 18 yard box to an open Tarek Morad. Tarek quickly found Guy Abend on a free run into the six unmarked and he buried a header in the back of the net for City’s opening tally.

The rest of the first half was fairly uneventful, though it didn’t lack for scoring chances. Wilmington had a good chance on a corner kick just a minute after Abend’s goal. Then, Hoffman and Davis couldn’t connect on a blistering counterattack immediately afterwards. The gold hoops would have quite a bit more success on the finishing front in the second half, however. City again owned most of the ball and pressed the Hammerheads high up the field. Hoffman and Dacres probably should have combined for a goal in the 50th minute but were denied by what looked an awful lot like a foul in the box by Wilmington. Chandler and his racing stripes were finally able to hit paydirt in the 64th minute on a cool left-footed penalty kick to the far corner after Mark Anthony Kaye was cut down on a marauding run into the 18 with the ball by the Hammerheads’ goalkeeper to make it 0-2.

Aodhan Quinn smashed home a free kick in the 69th (nice) minute to make the lead three after Niall McCabe was fouled about 25 yards from the Wilmington goal. Hoffman picked up his second goal of the night and 14th of the season when Abend collected an errant pass from Wilmington deep in his own half and hit a seeing-eye ball to Kyle Smith about 50 yards away, who hit it toward the penalty spot where a streaking Hoffman jumped on the bouncing ball and slotted past the keeper at the near post. City gave up a dumb goal to Perone on a penalty in the 89th minute, but it didn’t matter at that point and he Kings walked off the field with the win.

All told, it was a complete performance from City. The Kings only gave up 4 shots on goal all night, one of which was a penalty, and another which was taken at least 20 yards from the goal. The team needed three points from this game and got them. Now let’s hope Cincy and NYRBII draw midweek and kick some ass this coming Saturday.