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 Louisville City FC

LouCity Draws Hartford Athletic as Playoff Race Continues

October 7, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Louisville City FC News Release

Louisville City FC battles the Hartford Athletic
Louisville City FC battles the Hartford Athletic
(Louisville City FC, Credit: EM Dash Photography)

Louisville City FC moved ahead of Hartford Athletic on Saturday with a highlight goal by Rasmus Thellufsen, but the guests later equalized at Lynn Family Stadium in a result important for the 2023 USL Championship Playoff picture.

LouCity's 1-1 draw left the boys in purple fifth in the Eastern Conference table, two points behind Memphis 901 FC, with a game to before the postseason. Top-four sides host their playoff openers, and the rest will travel in the opening round.

"You walk away really, really disappointed," coach Danny Cruz said of the result against Hartford. "I certainly felt that the group left everything on the field. I thought we created a ton of chances. I thought our energy was good. Our lack of quality in finishing wasn't there tonight, other than obviously Razzie's goal.

"But I thought the intensity was right. There's some positives to take way from it building toward next week and the playoffs."

LouCity (14-11-8, 50 points) walked out for the Hartford game with a surprise, donning new black third kits that will be the club's jersey of choice the remainder of the year. That includes next Saturday's regular season finale against the Tampa Bay Rowdies set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. inside Lynn Family Stadium.

Home-field advantage for the playoffs isn't quite off the table, either. A City win and Memphis loss on the last day would keep the boys in purple in town for the Eastern Conference Semifinal round played Oct. 20-22.

"Of course, I'm frustrated we didn't win," Thellufsen said. "I feel we controlled the game really well. We played a good game and had chances we didn't grab. One-nil up and then we let them come in again, so I'm super annoyed right now."

Hartford (4-23-5, 17 points) entered the weekend last in the Eastern Conference but appears on the upswing under new coach Omid Namazi, who also guided the Athletic to a midweek draw. Still, LouCity will rue some missed early chances that let a win slip away Saturday.

Manny Perez crossed to an unmarked Dylan Mares on the game's opening possession, and Hartford's goalkeeper saved the ensuing shot. In the second minute, Niall McCabe hit the back of the net on a similar sequence, but Thellufsen was ruled offside in the buildup. Oscar Jimenez also hit the post in the ninth minute to finish the early flurry.

Thellufsen eventually broke the deadlock in the 58th minute by settling a ball over the top by McCabe, cutting in with his left foot and striking a shot off the post and in. It marked his first club goal in his first start since Aug. 19, a span of eight games.

"I've been feeling pretty good the last few weeks in training," Thellufsen said. "Danny gave me the opportunity from the start today, and I feel like I grabbed my opportunity. I'm happy to score my first goal. That's really nice."

Hartford's answer arrived in the 76th minute when Elvis Amoh laid off a pass in the box to Luke Merrill, who drove a shot through the defender's legs and in. It came against the run of play in a game where LouCity numbered expected goals of 1.68 to the Athletic's 0.56.

This followed last weekend's City loss at New Mexico United - a performance Cruz called "disgraceful."

"There was a clear difference, which is obviously what I asked for and talked about all week," Cruz said. "When you don't finish your chances, you leave yourself open for a result like that. There were positives tonight to take away from it. Last week, as I said, there were no positives.

"For me, we should win the game. We have to be better in the box. But I can't fault the effort tonight, that's for sure."

Game Summary: Louisville City FC vs. San Diego Loyal SC

Date: October 7, 2023

Venue: Lynn Family Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

Weather: 58 degrees, clear

Attendance: 9,927


Louisville City FC (0, 1, 1)

Hartford Athletic (0, 1, 1)


Louisville City FC:

58' Rasmus Thellufsen (Niall McCabe)

Hartford Athletic:

76' Luke Merrill (Elvis Amoh)


Louisville City FC: 28 - Oliver Semmle, 19 - Oscar Jimenez (90+3' 36 - Paolo DelPiccolo), 4 - Sean Totsch, 6 - Wes Charpie, 15 - Manny Perez, 12 - Tyler Gibson (82' 7 - Ray Serrano), 11 - Niall McCabe (73' 8 - Carlos Moguel Jr.), 22 - Dylan Mares (73' 23 - Elijah Wynder), 5 - Rasmus Thellufsen, 10 - Brian Ownby, 14 - Wilson Harris (82' 90 - Maarten Pouwels)

Subs not used: 18 - Danny Faundez, 32 - Kyle Adams

Head coach: Danny Cruz

Hartford Athletic: 13 - Joe Rice, 21 - Kembo Kibato, 28 - Conor McGlynn, 6 - Beverly Makangila, 22 - Robin Lapert (67' 29 - Antoine Hoppenot), 77 - Andre Lewis (82' 40 - Dren Dobruna), 8 - Juan Pablo Torres, 7 - Prince Saydee (46' 19 - Luke Merrill), 17 - Kyle Edwards (67' 14 - Ash Apollon), 10 - Danny Barrera (90+7' 16 - Matt Sheldon), 9 - Elvis Amoh

Subs not used: 99 - Marvyn Dorchin, 5 - Triston Hodge

Head coach: Omid Namazi

Stats Summary: Louisville City FC / Hartford Athletic

Shots: 24 / 8

Shots on Goal: 7 / 3

Possession: 55.3% / 44.7%

Fouls: 17 / 12

Offside: 2 / 1

Corner Kicks: 6 / 1

Discipline Summary

Louisville City FC:

37' Dylan Mares (yellow)

45+2' Brian Ownby (yellow)

71' Wes Charpie (yellow)

Hartford Athletic:

25' Beverly Makangila (yellow)

90+7' Danny Barrera (yellow)

Referee: Benjamin Meyer

Images from this story

Louisville City FC battles the Hartford Athletic
Louisville City FC battles the Hartford Athletic

(EM Dash Photography)

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