Louisville City FC rode a little bit of luck and a lot of grit to beat amateur side Detroit City FC (NPSL) 3-1 in a penalty shootout after clawing out a 1-1 draw in extra time. Ilija Ilich salvaged what could have been a game of missed opportunities to counter a Sebastian Harris goal earlier in extra time, and Scott Goodwin allowed only one ball past him from the spot in during the shootout, notching a save while two Detroit kicks were no threat to the Louisville goal.
The game, played at Frazier Stadium on the campus of Bellarmine University due to scheduling conflicts with Slugger Field, had the hosts facing northward and pushing down on the gas. After the teams exchanged initial possessions, Louisville held possession for the most part, usually winning the ball back quickly from Detroit before they could get any sort of counter started. The home team got a scare early, after midfielder Kadeem Dacres hit the netting behind the goal after contact with Detroit keeper Steinwascher, and came up limping. Dacres stayed in, though would be subbed out at the half.
Louisville had a great chance early when midfield Aodhan Quinn was fouled hard by Zach Schewee just outside the box, earning a yellow for DCFC. Paolo DelPiccolo, however, sent the ensuing free kick wide right of the goal. This seemed to be the theme for most of the night for the Louisvillans, who dominated possession throughout the game, led 9-0 in both shots and corner kicks at the half, but only managed one shot on goal. Whether it was poor service on free and corner kicks, or crosses that were either just too far from the receiver or too close to a defender, or passing on clear chances for shots to get a closer look and coming up empty, a lack of finishing for the team in purple kept the game scoreless. A solid goalkeeping performance from Nathan Steinwascher, who replaced the reigning TheCup.us Player of the Round Evan Louro in net.
As Detroit built up momentum in the second half, Steinwascher’s brilliance was matched by Louisville City keeper Scott Goodwin. Goodwin sniffed out multiple crosses and free kicks, suffocating Detroit’s counterattacks. This set the stage for one of the unpredictable extra time periods that make the Open Cup what it is.
Louisville sub Ilija Ilich was attempting to corral a blocked shot ten minutes into the first extra period, when he was brought down by Matt Nance inside the box. Nance received a yellow, and Ilic a penalty kick. While the Serbian missed, a scrum after the rebound ended with Tyler Stevens being shown a straight red card. DCFC coach Ben Pirmann was heated over the call, and just two minutes later was shown the door himself after verbally confronting the ref. This seemed to energize the Michigan bunch, as a counterattack found Sebastian Harris fouled in front of the box a few moments later. Detroit sub Ali Al-Gashamy sent the free kick into the box, where Harris slotted home to give the visitors the lead.
Things seemingly went from bad to worse for Louisville in the second extra time period, as Conor Shanosky was tagged very quickly with his second yellow for dissent five minutes in. However, being at ten men each seemed to open things up for Louisville, as the rebound from a free kick in the final minute went right to Ilich, who made sure things would continue on even terms. The home side did not quit pressing for a winner, but ran out of time before they could do so.
Detroit City suddenly found themselves up again after the first round of penalty kicks, as Harris made his goal while LCFC’s Quinn had his shot saved. However, the hosts rebounded, as Paolo DelPiccolo and Ilich made their shots, followed by a George Davis miss, while Al-Gashamy and Dave Edwarson missed their shots, while Tyler Channell’s effort was saved. This left Cameron Lancaster with a chance to seal the victory, and he deked Steinwascher to end the match.
Louisville will travel up I-65 to play the NASL’s Indy Eleven on Wednesday, June 1 in Round 3.