Saint Louis F.C. Miss Out On “Kings' Cup” And Three Points In Loss vs. Louisville City F.C.
Photo Credit: Will Bramlett, STLFC
St. Louis, MO- Jack Flaherty had to be the most frustrated Cardinal at the end of the team’s 3-0 loss in Game 2 of the NLDS vs. the Atlanta Braves. It was another outing where he only made one mistake and received zero offensive support. The members of the Saint Louis Football Club defense must have had similar feelings Saturday night.
In front of a crowd of 4,512 people, STLFC lost just their second home game of the season by a final score of 1-0 vs. the back-to-back USL champions and bitter rivals Louisville City Football Club.
STLFC not only failed to secure a much-needed victory, but also lost out on the “Kings' Cup”, the award presented to the supporter’s group of the team with more head-to-head points that season. STLFC have never won the “Kings' Cup” in the club’s history.
“Give Louisville credit because, in the first half, I think they showed why they are back-to-back champions,” said STLFC head coach Anthony Pulis. “We were much better in the second half. We were more aggressive, created some good opportunities, and on another night, maybe we walk away with a point.”
Louisville came into match unbeaten in their last nine games and began to dominate possession straightaway. They struck in the 12th minute when Napo Matsoso played a one-two at the top of the box with leading scorer Magnus Rasmussen, who sent a powerful left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
STLFC’s first chance didn’t come until the 24th minute when left-back Bradley Kamdem-Fewo was able to break free into the left side of the box. He would get his shot off from a tight angle, but it would only hit the side netting.
Louisville came close to making it 2-0 in the 32nd minute when Niall McCabe crossed a ball towards the back post following a corner. Sean Totsch was able to get a head on it, but the ball would deflect off the crossbar and out.
Louisville would miss another golden opportunity in the 40th minute when their captain Devon Williams found himself alone waiting for a cross inside the STLFC box. He would make solid contact on his header, but it sailed high over the bar.
Louisville’s last chance in a dominant first half was off of a counterattack following an STLFC corner. Brian Ownby would find himself in on goal, but was closed down by goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, who was able to stick a hand out to block Ownby’s shot.
STLFC continued to struggle to get on the ball in the early stages of the second half. Pulis went to the bench looking for an offensive spark and that is when thing’s started to turn in STLFC’s favor.
In the 76th minute, substitute Masta Kacher was able to beat a defender on the outside and put a cross into the box. Tyler Blackwood was there waiting to meet it and it took a diving save from Louisville keeper Chris Hubbard for the score to remain 1-0.
STLFC continued to put solid pressure on Louisville in search for an equalizer and they nearly got it in stoppage time. Following a corner, Blackwood would nearly bicycle-kick the ball back into the center of the box. Substitute Guy Abend would direct his header on goal, but it was directly at Hubbard who made the save that clinched the victory for the away side.
“Louisville were obviously good on the ball, they’ve been playing together for a long time,” said Blackwood. “If we had pressed and played like we did in the second half, in the first half, I think we would have gotten something out the game.”
STLFC are fortunate enough that the match between Birmingham Legion F.C. and Charleston Battery ended in a 0-0 draw, which means the club remain in ninth place ahead of both teams by two points.
“Every game is a playoff match right now,” said Kacher. “We can’t look forward too much and we can’t dwell on the past. We have to turn around and show up strong on Wednesday.”
STLFC will be back on the road in their match when they take on Loudoun United F.C. on Wednesday. Their final home game of the season will take place on Saturday vs. the first-place team in the Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh Riverhounds.