#LouCity #U.S. Open Cup

Louisville City FC Shows Resilience in Open Cup: Narrow Loss to Seattle Sounders Highlights Team’s Strength and Potential

In the dead of night, under the expansive skies of Tukwila, Washington, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup witnessed a breathtaking spectacle that pushed Louisville City FC to the brink. Despite their heroic effort, they narrowly missed triggering a major upset. LouCity falls to the Seattle Sounders FC Tacoma Defiance in a nail-biting penalty shootout after the game ended tied at 2-2 through extra time at the Starfire Sports Complex.

Before we jump into the match, I do want to talk about the stadium and the field. Adapting to the unique conditions of Starfire Sports Complex was a crucial component for Loucity in this match. The field at Starfire measures only 110 by 70 yards, the minimum size allowed by FIFA, which contrasts sharply with the more spacious 120 by 75 yards at Lynn Family Stadium. While 10 yards in length and 5 in width may not seem that big of a difference, playing on a smaller surface can be a real game-changer. It forces you to react faster and make quicker decisions, while also improving your ball control skills. This added challenge can help the home team become more strategic and give their opponents something else to think about during a match.

LouCity’s ability to nearly overcome these conditions and push a Major League Soccer team to the brink in such a compact space further underscores their tactical flexibility and readiness to compete under varied conditions. This aspect of their performance, though subtle, was significant in the context of the game’s dynamics, impacting both the flow of play and the physical intensity on the pitch.

Speaking of the pitch, another noteworthy aspect of the match environment was the playing surface at Starfire. Unlike most USL stadiums, including Lynn Family Stadium, which boasts a beautiful natural grass pitch, Starfire features synthetic turf. Historically, the preference for natural grass surfaces has been a point of contention, especially in competitions like the U.S. Open Cup, where MLS teams often hesitated (or downright refused) to play at lower division venues, citing concerns over the quality of fields. Ironically, in this instance, it was an MLS team, Seattle Sounders Tacoma Defiance, hosting a USL team on an artificial surface that flips the usual narrative. This adds an interesting layer to the match, as playing on synthetic turf can of course significantly alter the ball’s behavior and the players’ physical response, potentially impacting the outcome of a game. The use of such a surface at Starfire thus raises questions about consistency and fairness in venue standards across US Open Cup fixtures.

But let’s now get into the action from this morning. The dramatic showdown unfolded with LouCity clawing back from a daunting two-goal deficit. The match’s climax, a tense penalty shootout, saw goalkeepers Danny Faundez of LouCity and Andrew Thomas of Seattle making three saves each. The shootout reached its crescendo when Thomas himself netted the decisive shot, sealing the fate of the match.

The game wasn’t just a contest of goals; it was a testament to LouCity’s spirit and tenacity against an MLS foe. Coach Danny Cruz expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing their unwavering resolve, “It didn’t matter who we faced; our boys were determined to showcase a fighting spirit capable of toppling giants.”

The comeback was sparked in the 67th minute following a handball by Sounders’ Alex Roldan, leading to Sean Totsch converting a penalty that halved their deficit. As the minutes dwindled, Jorge Gonzalez’s 89th-minute goal forced the match into extra time, highlighting LouCity’s refusal to yield.

Despite facing early setbacks from Paul Rothrock and Danny Musovski’s strikes for Seattle, LouCity’s impressive mental fortitude was on full display. Not only did they manage to equalize, but they also went on to dominate the game, showcasing their attacking prowess and their resilience that went beyond their league stature. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the sheer determination and skill of the LouCity team.

Wes Charpie stood out defensively, making crucial blocks and securing the backline, particularly during a critical save when the keeper was out of position. This defensive solidity extended through the nerve-wracking shootout, underlining the psychological grit of the team.

Despite the loss in the US Open Cup defeat, LouCity’s performance during the game has solidified them as a team to be reckoned with in the USL. By challenging a top-tier team, even if it was their B team, they have gained invaluable experience and confidence that will prove to be vital in their upcoming league matches, starting with a match against Orange County SC. Now, they are fully focused on recovery and strategic preparations, determined to leverage the insights gained from this thrilling cup run to fortify their quest for success this season.

Speaking of that match with OCSC, let’s get ready for an exciting match this weekend. On Saturday (May 11), LouCity will host Orange County SC at 7:30 PM ET. This highly anticipated match marks only the third meeting between these two outstanding clubs. In the previous two matchups, which took place in 2022 and 2023, LouCity showed their dominance with a pair of impressive 3-1 victories.

Orange County Soccer Club (OCSC) is currently ranked third in the Western Conference, following New Mexico United and the Sacramento Republic. While they have a plus-five goal difference, they are coming off a home loss to Loudoun United in the Round of 32 in the US Open Cup. In USL play, OCSC has a record of 4 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss, with their only defeat suffered at the hands of Sacramento 19 days ago (4/20/24). Although they haven’t been very threatening in the attack, their defense has been solid, as they have not allowed more than two goals in any game this season. However, they have conceded two goals in four of their nine games.

On the other hand, LouCity has only been held to two goals or less in two of their nine matches this season, indicating a distinct contrast in styles between the two teams. Orange County will likely focus on defending their mid and back lines to stifle LouCity’s dangerous attack. OCSC will then look to counterattack and score, similar to what Seattle/Tacoma did against LouCity in the previous game.

As for the upcoming match, it has the potential to be a low-scoring affair. It could end in a 0-0 or 1-1 draw, with both teams fighting hard to secure a positive result. Will Thomas Amang or Brian Iloski be able to score on a counterattack or set-piece to secure OCSC’s first positive result against LouCity, or will Harris, Lopez, Wynder, Totsch, Adams, and Las be able to keep their winning streak alive? Only time will tell.

Although LouCity’s US Open Cup journey ended with a loss, their spirit, determination, and skills displayed throughout the competition will undoubtedly resonate as a defining moment of their season. It will inspire them as they pursue future victories, and the loss could be a mere bump in the road to their third star, or it could be a glimpse of what we may see again in the playoffs this fall. I can’t wait to see where this team goes next.

Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of LouCity and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 


  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

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