Under first-year head coach Danny Cruz, Louisville City FC extended its Eastern Conference Final appearance streak to seven years after going 18-7-7 during the regular season. The boys in purple clinched the USL Championship’s first Central Division title on the campaign’s final weekend, going into the playoffs with a No. 1 seed. The club also averaged a league-leading 10,088 fans at its home games, opening Lynn Family Stadium up to 100% capacity in mid-June after COVID-19 restrictions lifted. Cameron Lancaster bagged 20 goals for the second time in his career, Brian Ownby registered a career-high 11 assists, Jonathan Gomez had a breakout season that landed him a transfer to first division European side Real Sociedad.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisville City FC pieced together another historic season on and off the pitch. On July 12, LouCity opened Lynn Family Stadium to 4,850 fans — just 30 percent of the stadium’s 15,304 capacity — for its inaugural season and the club’s first game since March. Following a rocky, 1-3 start to the season, the boys in purple made an impressive midseason turnaround that featured an unbeaten streak measuring 13 games as the club advanced to its sixth Eastern Conference Final appearance in as many years as a club. LouCity also landed a club-record four players — Cameron Lancaster, Ben Lundt, Sean Totsch and Speedy Williams — on the USL’s All-League First Team with Lundt also winning league Goalkeeper of the Year.
In its first full season under the leadership of John Hackworth, Louisville City FC maintained the same high standards, winning a third consecutive Eastern Conference Final. With his side trailing 0-1 to Indy Eleven in the 90th-minute, Antoine Hoppenot equalized and sent the game into extra time, when Louisville hit the back of the net twice more. The boys in purple went on to fall just short of winning their third-consecutive USL Cup, falling to Real Monarchs SLC. Leading up to the final, LouCity went unbeaten in 15 of its final 16 games, climbing from the middle of the table to third in the Eastern Conference.
Louisville City FC became the first USL club to win back-to-back championships with a 1-0 victory over Phoenix Rising FC. That was despite the midseason departure of coach James O’Connor to MLS’ Orlando City SC. The club turned to a “triumvirate” of players — Paolo DelPiccolo, George Davis IV and Luke Spencer — to lead the way before appointing John Hackworth as the club’s second-ever head coach in early August. In the midst of the club’s championship run, forward Cameron Lancaster broke the USL scoring record — previously held by former LouCity player Matt Fondy — bagging 26 goals on the season, good for the 2018 Golden Boot Award and All-League First Team Honors alongside teammate Paco Craig.
Having built a strong foundation during its first two seasons, Louisville City FC broke through this year to win both its first Eastern Conference Final and USL Cup Final. It wasn’t easy, with a penalty shootout needed against New York Red Bulls II in the national semifinal before a crowd of 14,456 gathered at Slugger Field for the championship game, a 1-0 win over the Swope Park Rangers. LouCity, which also posted the East’s best record during the regular season, set club records for wins in a season (18), points (62), goal differential (+27) and goals scored (58).
Having found its footing during a debut USL season, Louisville City FC emerged as a force through its second campaign, compiling a 17-4-9 record capped by a return trip to the Eastern Conference Final. As one of the final four teams remaining, LouCity was the last independent club — one without an MLS affiliation — standing in the playoffs. Midseason, LouCity also pieced together a club-record 17-game unbeaten streak, going from April 9 to July 23 without a loss.
Louisville City FC set a winning precedent from the start, defeating Saint Louis FC in both clubs’ inaugural game to kick off a 14-8-6 debut season for outdoor pro soccer in town. LouCity stood out thanks to an MVP season from forward Matt Fondy, whose 22 regular season goals set the USL record at the time. The club also defeated former affiliate Orlando City SC, of MLS, in an August friendly before winning its first playoff game in October to visit the Eastern Conference Final.