Unlike last round where penalty kicks seemed to be the hot commodity, the match between Louisville City FC and Lansing United ended in 90 minutes. Louisville scored three minutes into the second half to eventually win the match 1-0 in what is the first victory by a Kentucky team in the US Open Cup since 1993 (Louisville Soccer Alliance).
From the opening kickoff at Archer Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., Louisville came out strong offensively and dominated possession in the first half.
“We expected to possess the ball a lot. We knew Lansing would make it very difficult for us,” said City head coach James O’Connor. “Great credit to them, they defended very well, they got numbers behind the ball and made it difficult for us to break them down.”
In the third minute of the game, forward Nate Polak, hit a shot that went wide of the United goal.
The game went back and forth for the next few minutes and in the 10th, Lansing United forward Matt Brown had a good look at the top of the box and struck a shot wide of the City goal.
In the 25th minute, City midfielder Charlie Adams ripped a shot 20 yards out. But the ball flew just over the crossbar on the far side of the goal.
United got a few more looks at goal in the first half, but none that would cause a scare for City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh.
“They held the ball for a really long time, but our guys really stayed to our tactics, we defended extremely well and I thought we chased the game,” said United head coach Eric Rudland.
In the second half United put pressure on Louisville by earning an early free kick, but Lansing couldn’t make anything of it as defender Ben Lamb headed it wide of the goal.
Off a corner kick in the 48th minute, City midfielder Magnus Rasmussen played it short to Adams who hit a shot towards goal which deflected off Brown and into the United goal.
“The short corner was on to play and it was one of them ones where you’re shaping it with the inside of your foot that you want it to go towards goal,” Adams said. “I was aiming for the back post and to gradually get in the goal. But it’s one of those ones that’s difficult for defenders so it’s likely for you to get a deflection and I scored.”
Lansing broke out of their defensive mode and pressured the Louisville defense which cut down City’s time of possession to 60-40 15 minutes into the second half.
By the 70th minute, United switched their tactics and moved left back Ade Adeniyi to the striker position and dropped Brown into the midfield while midfielder Jack Smith dropped into the defensive back role.
This switch gave United a spark offensively as the big and strong Adeniyi created havoc for the City defense and just missed netting the equalizer in the 88th minute as his shot rung off the outside of the right post.
“We were able to make the adjustment to bump Ade up, he had a nice couple chances,” Rudland said. “Then we had guys getting around their outside backs in the last few minutes of the second half.”
Louisville held strong defensively at the end and almost added a few more goals if it wasn’t for a few big saves from United goalkeeper Quinn McAnaney.
“Honestly I think this was more to do with our backline and their performance,” McAnaney said. “I had to make one big save and the rest of the game they held them in check. This one goes to our backline and they were great all day.”
Louisville City FC will play the Indy Eleven Wednesday in the Third Round.