Photo courtesy Alena Schuckmann / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kadeem Dacres scored the only goal of the game as Louisville City FC took a 1-0 victory against the Charleston Battery in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs in front of 6,581 fans at Slugger Field. Louisville opened the game sharply, and Magnus Rasmussen forced a good save in the 24th minute from Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis with a turning volley from the top of the penalty area. Charleston came close against the run of play as Maikel Chang fired a low shot from a free kick that City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh turned wide. The teams exchanged chances late in the half as Dacres had a low shot saved by Tambakis, and Shawn Ferguson’s header for Charleston was saved by Ranjitsingh, but the game went to the break scoreless. Battery forward Romario Williams almost grabbed his side the lead moments into the second half, only for Ranjitsingh to deflect his shot wide. Louisville took the lead eight minutes after the break, however, as a chipped ball over the top by Sean Reynolds found Dacres for a low finish from the right side of the penalty area. Charleston pressed to get back into the game, but Louisville was able to hold the better of possession, and earned a return trip to the Eastern Conference Final.
Three Things That Matter:
1. Louisville put Charleston on the back foot from the off, and the interplay between Kadeem Dacres and Magnus Rasmussen helped create a number of chances that the hosts couldn’t quite finish off. As sharp as the build-up play was, though, the Battery were able to stifle most of the threats, while goalkeeper Alex Tambakis made a pair of good saves to keep the game scoreless, and after weathering the early pressure started to take advantage of their set pieces, as Shawn Ferguson in particular almost caught the hosts with a devastating sucker-punch with the final chance of the half.
2. Charleston pressed higher up the field to start the second half, and it almost paid off immediately with a great chance for Romario Williams that City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh turned wide well. That high line came back to bite the Battery, though, as Louisville adjusted well and used the speed of Dacres to get in behind for the opening goal. As well-worked as the chance was thanks to Sean Reynolds’ pass, Tambakis will likely feel he should have done better with a low finish from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area.
3. Louisville’s possession, and good passing through the midfield, ended up being the key to its victory, as the hosts were able to hold possession for good spells which limited the Battery’s chances to find an equalizer. City will now head to New York for the Eastern Conference Final against the Red Bulls II, a side that defeated it in both of the meetings in the regular season, to look to go one step further than a season ago and earn a chance to lift the USL Cup.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Kadeem Dacres, Louisville City FC – Dacres was a threat throughout the night, both out wide and when he drifted inside, and scored the decisive goal to send Louisville back to the Eastern Conference Final.
Louisville City FC – Eastern Conference Final at New York Red Bulls II, Sunday, Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m. ET
Charleston Battery – End of Season
53’ – LOU – Kadeem Dacres (Sean Reynolds)
LOU: 18-Greg Ranjitsingh; 24-Kyle Smith, 15-Sean Reynolds, 18-Paco Craig, 6-Tarek Morad; 8-Guy Abend, 4-Aodhan Quinn; 7-Kadeem Dacres (77-Andy Lubahn, 87’), 10-Magnus Rasmussen (14-Ilija Ilic, 77’), 22-George Davis IV (36-Paolo DelPiccolo, 82’); 17-Chandler Hoffman (9-Cameron Lancaster, 87’)
CHS: 1-Alex Tambakis; 15-Emmanuel Adjetey (3-Forrest Lasso, 82’), 4-Taylor Mueller, 6-Shawn Ferguson, 7-O’Brian Woodbine; 12-Maikel Chang, 24-Zach Prince, 10-Ataulla Guerra, 19-Dante Marini (30-Andrew Carleton, 65’; 9-Romario Williams (17-Ricky Garbanzo, 81’), 25-Chris Tsonis (16-Heviel Cordoves, 65’)
Venue: Louisville Slugger Field