Nightmare Start Dooms LouCity as Hosting Playoff Opener Slips Away

A nightmare start saw Louisville City’s hopes of hosting a playoff opener go up in smoke in a bitterly disappointing 3-2 home loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night.

Inside 30 seconds, a turnover deep in LouCity’s half allowed JJ Williams to stab home for Tampa and shock the packed crowd at Lynn Family Stadium.

It would prove a harbinger of frustration to come on a night when the boys in purple failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity. 

A win would have seen LouCity leapfrog Memphis 901 FC and take fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Instead, after surrendering three transition goals, they remain fifth and will now open the playoffs on the road next Saturday.

“The first goal, obviously, also not how you want to start the game,” lamented coach Danny Cruz.

It marked a stunning squandering of the chance handed to City when Memphis lost on Friday. Suddenly, LouCity controlled their fate. Win, and a playoff rematch with Memphis would come to Louisville.

But an inability to contain Rowdies dangerman Cal Jennings doomed LouCity’s hopes. Jennings netted either side of halftime on clinical counterattacks that exposed defensive frailties.

Despite dominating possession, City created few clear scoring opportunities until Cameron Lancaster added a late consolation goal. It made for a bitterly disappointing night when so much was within reach.

“We have something to prove, and everyone here has our back,” said defender Manny Perez, looking ahead to the playoffs. “We’re going to play for them.”

After the deflating defeat, LouCity can expect little sympathy from frustrated supporters. Once again, a lack of ruthlessness when it truly mattered has left City lamenting what could have been. 

A season filled with tantalizing highs but demoralizing lows now gives way to a daunting road playoff opener in Memphis. The chance to battle at home, in front of an electric Lynn Family Stadium crowd, has slipped away.

There is still a belief that this talented squad can make noise in the postseason. But failing to handle business on their big night will sting Louisville City through the long offseason ahead if they fall short.

When the goal was in sight, the boys in purple stumbled at the final hurdle. The road ahead now only gets tougher. Considering their run of play recently, I don’t have high hopes. 

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. 

(Photo: EM Dash Photography)


  • 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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