Sporting Kansas City II (5-10-1, 16 points) ended the club’s fifth USL Championship season on Saturday night, taking a 2-1 loss to Group E winners Louisville City FC (11-3-2, 35 points) at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
Seventeen-year-old forward Tyler freeman, on loan from Sporting Kansas City, slotted home his second goal of the campaign midway through the second half, but Louisville did their damage with a pair of strikes in the first 45 minutes to push their unbeaten run to 11 matches and seal the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference ahead of the USL Championship Playoffs later this month.
Third-year head coach Paulo Nagamura retooled his starting lineup by making three changes from Wednesday’s stunning 2-1 road victory over the Indy Eleven, which saw 17-year-old debutant Bailey Sparks bag a 95th-minute winner. Petar Cuic and Camden Riley supplanted Jahon Rad and Christian Duke in midfield, while center forward Dominik Resetar received the nod in place of Sporting KC II leading goal scorer Wilson Harris.
The visitors went agonizingly close to drawing first blood twice in quick succession near the 20th minute. Winger Fredinho Mompremier squared up Devon Williams, beat his marker and lashed a left-footed shot from the left side of the box, forcing Louisville goalkeeper Ben Lundt into a reflex save. The ball remained alive, however, and Resetar’s rebound effort was deflected behind for a corner kick. Louisville failed to clear the ensuing delivery, and amidst a mad scramble in the six-yard area, Mompremier’s bouncing header caromed off the post.
At the opposite end, DelPiccolo ran onto Williams’ through ball and unfurled a cross from the left flank that skipped across the face of goal to Brian Ownby, whose side-footed curler was blocked through traffic in the 23rd minute.
DelPiccolo was at it again in the 26th minute, latching onto Ownby’s teasing cross and snapping a header into the left corner of the net past Sporting KC II goalkeeper Remi Prieur. The Louisville captain tabbed his second goal of the season on the play as Nagamura's men suffered the first blow.
The hosts had effectively seized momentum and almost doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark, but Williams’ low piledriver took a slight deflection before fizzing inches wide of Prieur’s left-hand post. The all-action midfielder then wasted a chance off a half-cleared corner, shanking wide of the mark from 12 yards.
Louisville striker Cameron Lancaster had scored in each of his previous three appearances against Sporting KC II this season and looked to make it four straight in the 38th minute, however Prieur was equal to the Englishman’s blistering 25-yard blast.
Five minutes before halftime, Lancaster wouldn’t be denied. The in-form attacker settled an Antoine Hoppenot pass 40 yards from goal and drove forward before pulling the trigger at the top of the box and picking out the bottom left corner to record his team-leading 10th goal of the campaign—a total that includes four versus Sporting KC II.
Prieur produced a superb save on 53 minutes after Lancaster was played through on goal by Oscar Jimenez, sprawling left to thwart the forward at close range.
Freeman handed Sporting KC II a lifeline in the 64th minute, settling a crisp pullback pass from Mompremier and rifling low beyond Lundt to tally his second goal of the year. The 17-year-old had opened his scoring account on Sept. 9 with a jaw-dropping free kick versus Indy Eleven, and his strike on Saturday gave Mompremier his team-best fourth assist in 2020.
Both sides stayed on the hunt for more goals, and Prieur turned away another Lancaster shot in the 70th minute. Louisville’s Sean Totsch and Sporting KC Academy product Isaiah LeFlore were next to threaten, snapping headers marginally wide of the target just after the 80-minute interval.
2020 USL Championship
Match 16 of 16
Lynn Family Stadium | Louisville, Kentucky
Weather: 63 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City II (5-10-1, 16 points)||0||1||1|
|Louisville City FC (11-3-2, 35 points)||2||0||2|
Sporting Kansas City II: Remi Prieur; Kayden Pierre, Kaveh Rad, Danny Barbir, Dillon Serna (C); Petar Cuic (Bailey Sparks 74'), Jake Davis (Christian Duke 57'), Camden Riley; Tyler Freeman (Isaiah LeFlore 74'), Dominik Resetar (Wilson Harris 57'), Fredinho Mompremier
Subs Not Used: Mitch Hildebrandt, Josh Chong, Christian Duke, Jahon Rad
Louisville City FC: Ben Lundt; Pat McMahon (Jonathan Gomez 75'), Sean Totsch, Alexis Souahy, Oscar Jimenez; Devon Williams, Brian Ownby, Akil Watts (Kenney Walker 75'), Paolo DelPiccolo (C), Antoine Hoppenot (Jason Johnson 87'); Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 87')
Subs Not Used: Chris Hubbard, Wesley Charpie, Jimmy Ockford
LOU -- Paolo DelPiccolo 2 (unassisteed) 26'
LOU -- Cameron Lancaster 10 (Antoine Hoppenot 6) 40'
SKC -- Tyler Freeman 2 (Fredinho Mompremier 4) 64'
SKC -- Kayden Pierre (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 69'
LOU -- Luke Spencer (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 89'
SKC -- Camden Riley (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 90+3'
|Shots on Goal||3||6|
Referee: Nabil Bensalah
Assistant Referee: Walt Heatherly
Assistant Referee: Chris Schurfranz
Fourth Official: Christopher Slane