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Lexington battle to continue strong USL Jägermeister Cup run

Lexington SC snatched all 3 points in a thriller down in East Ridge, Tennessee, against the Chattanooga Red Wolves on Saturday night to continue the club’s strong run in the inaugural Jägermister Cup. The results extend Lexington’s unbeaten run to 4 matches and give the Boys in Green a 2 point cushion on top of the Central Group in the Jäger Cup. The victory is hopefully a sign of road demons being a thing of the past as it marked Lexington’s 2nd ever win on the road, their first-ever win while wearing their white away kits, and the 10th win in club history across all competitions. 

The match was wild for Lexington fans from the very start, with the video stream on ESPN+ experiencing technical difficulties that delayed those who could not be present at the match from seeing the first 5ish minutes of the game (with a random red screen appearing around the 73rd minute as well). The stream came back just in time to see Red Wolves striker Mayele Malango open up the scoring in the 8th minute from a slip-up in the Lexington backline after starting the match a little flat-footed.

Malango’s goal snapped the team into focus as they began a ruthless attack on the Red Wolf’s backline and keeper, TJ Bush. A 3 man attack of Diouf, Lancaster, and Cerritos (making his first start for Lexington) proved to be very overwhelming for Chattanooga, as they had to make multiple plays within the final 3rd the entire match. Diouf would find the first of 3 equalizers for Lexington in the 35th minute, only for the defense to allow another quick goal by Chevone Marsh in the 38th to go into the half down 2-1.

The 2nd half is where things got really nerve-racking and exciting. Cerritos would level the score in the 55th minute to get his first goal in Green before the defense allowed another quick goal by Malango in the 57th minute to make the match 3-2 with 30 minutes left. Malango’s 2nd goal marked the 3rd time Lexington had scored down in Chattanooga, only to allow the Red Wolves to respond within 5 minutes, dating back to SoSo Kim’s goal in the club’s first-ever match in CHI Memorial Stadium last season. 

The red screen I mentioned earlier would mark the beginning of the shift in the match, with Omar Hernandez receiving a red card in the 75th minute due to fouling Lancaster on a clear scoring opportunity. The red card continues a trend of 3 straight Lexington games with a red card shown – all within the Jäger Cup – with 4 total being shown (2 to Lexington and 1 to each of their opponents) over those 3 matches. 

Lexington would take a minute to capitalize on the man advantage, though. Still, it appeared to many fans watching that it would be a matter of when they would equalize and not if, as Lexington ruthlessly attacked the Chattanooga box, forcing TJ Bush to make multiple plays, keeping his side ahead as the match headed into 7 minutes of stoppage time. 

Nico Brown would be Lexington’s first hero on the night, as the club’s 2nd leading all-time goal scorer found the back of the net for the first time in 2024, capitalizing on a poor goal kick by Bush that fell right at his feet to level the match in the 92nd minute. The Boys in Green weren’t playing for PKs in this one. Cameron Lancaster, who one could make a case for to be the most legendary soccer player in Kentucky soccer history, went into Super Cam mode, sending home the game-winner in the 96th minute off a perfect cross from Ates Diouf.

Lexington has looked like a very different team during Jäger Cup play compared to league play, where they have a record of 1-1-4 compared to their cup record of 2-1-0 thus far. However, even given the small sample size of cup play, Lexington has found the high-flying, high-pressure attacking style that many (myself included) predicted for them heading into the season, with Diouf and Brown finally getting in the mix and Lancaster leading the charge thus far. However, while the attack has found its form, the defense has been questionable in the past 2 matches, with mistakes leading to easy goals for the opposition. Some of the goals one could chalk up to just bad luck for Lexington – namely the 2 goals Fuego scored late to equalize last match – but Chattanooga counter showed flaws and weaknesses within the Lexington defense. 

Hopefully, Powell and his staff will be able to correct some of these errors as LSC travels up to Madison next weekend for the club’s first league match in over 6 weeks, with the last one being the 2-2 draw with Spokane way back on April 14th. Lexington needs to capitalize on the momentum captured from these previous 3 matches, especially this last one, as Madison will be looking to avenge the 1-0 loss to Lexington to open Jäger Cup play when they had a 2-man advantage. 

The match against Forward Madison is set to kick off at 6 pm EST at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday, June 1st. Streaming will be on ESPN+. 


  • Jon Hunt

    Jon Hunt is an avid and enthusiastic soccer podcast host. Originally from the Detroit area, he now resides in central Kentucky. Jon brings passion and his love of soccer history to the Bluegrass Soccer Cast community. His ultimate goal is to continue the growth of soccer in America with a focus of the thriving soccer scene in Kentucky. #ProRelForUSA

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