Mares, Harris Strike from Distance as LouCity Rally Past Loudoun
(Photo: Loudoun United FC)
Needing a result in the worst way to keep their playoff hopes alive, Louisville City FC leaned on a pair of second-half golazos to secure a dramatic 2-1 comeback win away to Loudoun United FC on Saturday night.
Veteran midfielder Dylan Mares pulled City level with a blistering strike from outside the box in the 74th minute before Wilson Harris curled home the winner in the 91st, his fourth straight game finding the net.
The vital victory, played in driving wind and rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, officially clinched a playoff spot for LouCity in their ninth straight season.
“I was really proud of the second half and the chances we created,” said coach Danny Cruz. “Our set pieces were excellent, and we got a couple of fantastic finishes.”
His side brought desperation into the contest after a disheartening midweek loss at Miami FC left their postseason participation uncertain. But LouCity responded with the pride and determination their club is known for.
After a lackluster first half, Mares came on as a substitute to spark the attack. His golazo followed a flurry of set pieces that had City knocking on the door.
Harris then delivered the dagger just before full-time, bending in a shot from outside the box to complete the comeback after Loudoun took an early lead.
“In the second half, I thought we took over and started creating opportunities for ourselves,” remarked Mares. “Everyone put in all the effort, and it went in our favor.”
With the pressure sky-high, LouCity’s experienced core came through when it mattered most. Veterans like Mares, Harris, Brian Ownby, and Paolo DelPiccolo willed their team to three season-saving points.
The win leaves City level on points with Memphis for the fourth and final home playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Their destiny remains in their own hands with three games to play.
After a gut-punch loss followed by a nervy night in Virginia, this playoff-clinching victory could prove a turning point. It showed that the proud boys in purple still have the talent and belief to be a postseason threat.
“We’re in a good position now to attack these next few games and really try to go on a run into the playoffs,” said Harris, whose scoring streak reached four games. “I think all the guys are really motivated.”
With their playoff lives at stake, Louisville City passed a critical test of their character. Now the focus shifts to climbing the table and peaking at the perfect time to maximize their title chances.
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