Sporting Kansas City II (0-3-0, 0 points) slipped to a narrow 1-0 loss at Louisville City FC (2-2-0, 6 points) on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium. An evenly contested battle was decided in the 50th minute as USL Championship veteran Cameron Lancaster nodded home to snap Louisville’s two-game losing streak.
The result lifts Louisville into a second-place tie in the regionalized, four-team Group E of the USL Championship, while Sporting KC II remains fourth with a third straight loss to begin the campaign.
Head coach Paulo Nagamura fielded an unchanged starting XI from last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Indy Eleven as Sporting Kansas City II debuted its indigo blue secondary kits amidst sweltering playing conditions in Louisville’s newly constructed, soccer-specific venue.
The visitors were first to threaten in the 12th minute when Camden Riley spread the ball down the left flank to Dillon Serna, whose driven cross found Enoch Mushagalusa near the penalty spot. The forward’s strike took a slight deflection and skipped marginally wide of the post, much to the relief of Louisville goalkeeper Ben Lundt.
A wave of Louisville pressure late in the first half saw the 27-year-old Lancaster find a pocket of open space on the edge of the box, but a mass of Sporting II defenders converged on the striker to block his attempt.
Neither Sporting II nor Louisville managed a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, but the game burst to life early in the second stanza. Two minutes after his acrobatic side volley missed by a matter of inches, Lancaster powered a header past Sporting II goalkeeper Brooks Thompson off a looping Niall McCabe cross from the right wing, recording his 38th career regular season goal for the club.
Shortly thereafter, Thompson produced a splendid diving save to deny Napo Matsoso as Sporting II weathered Louisville’s surge to open the second half. At the opposite end, Mushagalusa slipped a clever through ball to Wilson Harris with only the keeper to beat, but the offside flag was raised.
Jaret Townsend replaced Fredinho Mompremier just shy of the hour mark and made an instant impact, first setting up Harris for a shot that dragged fractionally wide of frame. Seconds later, the rookie raced in on goal unimpeded, but Lundt sprung low to thwart the 22-year-old and keep the hosts ahead. Yet another chance fell Sporting II’s way in the 63rd minute, with Lundt smothering Mushagalusa’s tight-angle strike.
Two Louisville substitutes were involved in a fleeting opportunity on 84 minutes, as Luke Spencer’s flick-on header following a corner kick caromed into the path of Alexis Souahy, whose off-balance effort sailed over the crossbar.
One day after signing for Sporting KC II on an academy contract, 17-year-old Minnesota native Isaiah LeFlore entered in the late stages for his professional debut. Seven minutes of stoppage time would follow and Louisville almost doubled their advantage in the 95th minute on a McCabe piledriver that fizzed just beyond Thompson’s right-hand post.
Saturday marked the first of four fixtures Sporting II will play at Lynn Family Stadium this season. The sides will meet once more this Wednesday in a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN Plus before Nagamura’s side returns to Northern Kentucky for regular season meetings on Aug. 12 and Oct. 3.
2020 USL Championship
Match 3 of 16
Lynn Family Stadium | Louisville, Kentucky
Weather: 88 degrees and sunny
|Sporting Kansas City II (0-3-0, 0 points)||0||0||0|
|Louisville City FC (2-2-0, 6 points)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City II: Brooks Thompson; Sam Raben (Mason Leeth 78'), Kaveh Rad, Petar Cuic, Dillon Serna; Camden Riley (Danny Barbir 78'), Christian Duke (C) (Dominik Resetar 84'), Jake Davis; Enoch Mushagalusa (Isaiah LeFlore 84'), Wilson Harris, Fredinho Mompremier (Jaret Townsend 56')
Subs Not Used: Remi Prieur, Duval Wapiwo
Louisville City FC: Ben Lundt; Pat McMahon, Sean Totsch, Wesley Charpie (Jimmy Ockford 59'), Oscar Jimenez (Jonathan Gomez 70'); Napo Matsoso, Devon Williams, Corben Bone (Alexis Souahy 79'); Niall McCabe, Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 70'), Brian Ownby
Subs Not Used: Chris Hubbard, Abdou Mbacke Thiam, Antoine Hoppenot
LOU -- Cameron Lancaster 2 (Niall McCabe 1) 50’
LOU -- Napo Matsoso (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 19'
SKC -- Christian Duke (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 32'
LOU -- Oscar Jimenez (yellow card; time wasting) 67'
SKC -- Kaveh Rad (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 87'
|Shots on Goal||2||2|
Referee: Nabil Bensalah
Assistant Referee: Chris Schurfranz
Assistant Referee: Christopher Slane
Fourth Official: Josh Few