(Louisville City FC Release)
Down go the defending USL Champions! Louisville City FC hung on to defeat the New York Red Bulls II 1-1 (4-3) in front of 10,047 at Slugger Field and clinch their first trip to the USL Cup Finals. The boys in purple were able to reverse the result from the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals in penalty kicks.
It took the boys in purple just 12 minutes to get the ball in the net Saturday night. Luke Spencer passed the ball to Brian Ownby, who's shot from the center of the box sailed passed Red Bulls II keeper Evan Louro to the left corner of the net, securing Ownby's third goal in three games.
After a flurry of chances throughout the rest of the first half, Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro collected two saves while taking five shots from the boys in purple and kept Louisville's lead to one. LouCity's defense was able to limit New York to six shots in the first half.
Despite Brian Ownby coming out with two strong chances for Louisville, it was New York who was able to strike first in the second half. Junior Flemmings took a shot to the top right corner over Greg Ranjitsingh on a pass from Stefano Bonomo to tie the game in the 57th minute.
While chances arose for both sides throughout the remainder of regulation, both defenses held strong. Devon "Speedy" Williams came close to sealing the game for Louisville, with a shot in the 87th minute that got behind keeper Evan Louro but bounced off the post to keep the game knotted at one.
In extra time, both teams got their best opportunities in the first period. For Louisville,
Kyle Smith took a shot from the right side of the box that was saved by the Red Bulls II keeper, followed by George Davis IV took a shot from the outside of the box that missed to the right of the goal. New York got their best opportunity with a free kick from just outside the box, but keeper Greg Ranjitsingh made a phenomenal save that sent the game into another overtime period.
After a relatively uneventful second extra time period, a repeat of the 2016 USL Eastern Conference Finals was underway, with the match heading to penalty kicks tied at one.
After the Red Bulls II made their first shot, Kyle Smith followed suit and made his. New York then took the advantage in penalty kicks, when Paolo DelPiccolo had his shot stopped, while New York made theirs. Sean Totsch kept the win in reach for LouCity, keeping New York's advantage at one by making his shot.
Greg Ranjitsingh then proved why he is the starting goalkeeper for Lousiville City, stopping the next two shots from the Red Bulls II. Oscar Jimenez made his shot for Louisville City to tie the kicks 3-3, and hometown kid Richard Ballard put the game away by making LouCity's final penalty kick.