LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville City FC goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh stared down a fifth-minute penalty kick Tuesday against Toronto FC, faced with a potential early momentum shift in favor of the visitors. But he lunged right and blocked the attempt with his foot.
From there, the United Soccer League match at Louisville Slugger Field was never in doubt. LouCity scored three goals with a bevy of shots in the opening 26 minutes — two credited to guy midfielder Guy Abend — before adding another in the second half of a 4-1 victory.
The win stretched Louisville's unbeaten streak in USL play to 13 games and widened the gap to second place in the Eastern Conference standings to six points at the midway point of the regular season.
"I think we passed the ball, and there was a crispness to our passing which was good," said coach James O'Connor. "Just at the end, obviously very disappointing to give up a goal but all in all we have to be very pleased. The guys showed a lot of quality tonight, good passing, good movement, so we can be pleased."
After Toronto's Salvador Bernal Flores failed to convert the penalty, LouCity locked down on possession, controlling much of the first half. Abend cleaned up an 11th-minute corner kick to open scoring before scoring again in the 24th on an assist from George Davis IV.
Later, Niall McCabe, LouCity's assists leader, netted a shot of his own from the help of former Toronto midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.
The victory was in hand at the half as an announced 7,066 cheered the team in purple. Substituted on, University of Louisville product Paolo DelPiccolo dished a 65th minute free kick from the right to Tarek Morad for a header that rounded out LouCity's scoring.
A late run up the right side, and a well-positioned shot between the post and Ranjitsingh by Toronto's Shaan Hundal, spoiled the shutout but did little to factor in the result.
"You don't want to get big headed," O'Connor said. "…You need to keep your feet on the ground, and I think that there was certain aspects of play that we were pleased with and other aspects that need to be crisper — need to be sharper and a couple instances that we need to speak to the guys about but all in all we can be pleased with how that went for sure."
O'Connor's club improved to 10-1-4. Its last defeat came April 2 to New York Red Bulls II, the club chasing LouCity in the USL standings. In third is FC Cincinnati, which Louisville hosts Saturday in the first edition of the River Cities Cup at Slugger Field.