Louisville City managed to edge out a hard-fought 1-0 win over Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup newcomers Lexington Sporting Club on Wednesday night, sealing their spot in the Third Round of the competition.
Who else but prolific goal-scoring defender Sean Totsch was the player to finally break the stalemate between the two sides. A challenge in the 69th minute earned Lexington Sporting Club’s Terique Mohammed a yellow card and City a free kick. Totsch was able to connect off of a DelPiccolo free kick for a header that would find its way into the back of the net, sealing the fate of the game.
“It was a relief,” said Totsch, who tied the Louisville City club record with four career US Open Cup goals. “We know what we’re capable of. Even with a 1-0 game, there are a lot of things to take away. All respect to Lexington. They put up a great fight.”
The path to that 1-0 result wasn’t an easy one. Severe storms passing through Louisville and tornado sirens blaring only an hour before the match, made it seem like a meeting between these two rivals would have to wait. After merely a 30 minute delay the match was able to get under way for a soggy night of soccer.
Once the match was underway a back and forth struggle ensued to find the first shot on goal, which did not come until almost the 25th minute. This was not for lack of trying as LouCity’s Mares and Serrano, along with LSC’s Balogun and Baynham, found themselves in dangerous positions a multitude of times throughout the first half.
One of the biggest chances of the first half came in the 36th minute from a backwards header from Louisville’s Wilson Harris that was miraculously saved by LSC keeper Austin Causey. Very little would come from after this chance prior to the half, with Louisville ending the first 45 as the primary aggressors and LSC lacking a single shot on goal.
Not long after the second half began LSC’s Terique Mohammed delivered the team’s first shot on target from well outside the box in the 48th minute.
The remainder of the game would see several attempts on goal from the likes of Mushagalusa, Brown, and Mohammed, to name a few. LSC even sent all 11 players forward for a free kick in Louisville’s half for a shot that almost found its way home, but Totsch’s 69th minute goal would prove to be the deciding factor in the match.
When asked about if Louisville always had the winning goal in them, head coach Danny Cruz said, “I believed it (a goal) would come. I wanted the team to not concede in transition and make something happen on our side of the ball. I thought they responded well after the half. I’m proud of these guys.”
Lexington Sporting Club head coach Sam Stockley remains hopeful after the defeat stating, “We haven’t got time to dwell on it…You can’t buy culture. You’ve got to build it and grow into it. The players have been growing into it from day one. Never giving up is part of who they are and who we are.”
Both coaches commented on the positivity surrounding the growth and direction of soccer in Kentucky, citing each program as being an important step forward in growing the game and impacting their respective communities.