CINCINNATI, Ohio — One week after a comeback victory against Orlando City B, Louisville City FC (3-1-0, 9 points) again rebounded from conceding an early goal, grabbing a 3-2 victory against FC Cincinnati on Saturday at Nippert Stadium. A Chandler Hoffman 18-minute hat trick propelled LouCity to the top of the USL Eastern Conference table and the top of the River Cities Cup standings at night’s end.
The victory gave Louisville City bragging rights in the first game in the history of the newly founded River Cities Cup — a regular season head-to-head competition between the regional rivals. This first chapter of the rivalry provided heart-stopping drama from start to finish at Nippert from both teams.
FCC opened the game with an Austin Berry header from a free kick just outside of the box in just the 6th minute. However, just like last week, the LouCity lights turned on after conceding.
Hoffman, who scored his first goal as a LouCity player against OCB, got rolling for the visitors in the 17th minute from the penalty spot — after FCC was called for a handball in the box. Hoffman said he felt confident taking the penalty in front of the raucous FC Cincinnati supporters section.
“As a player, that’s where you want to be. You want to be able to step up in big moments,” Hoffman said. “Some players shy away from taking penalties but I’ve always had the confidence that I’m going to score the goal. As soon as we got the PK, I knew that I wanted to take it.”
Hoffman wasn’t done there. The MLS Cup-winning striker didn’t waste much time scoring his second, off a nicely played ball from Cincinnati native Kyle Smith in the 24th minute. Hoffman continued his rampage in the 34th minute off of a cross from another LouCity fullback, Ben Newnam, giving him a hat trick in just 18 minutes.
“It was great to get three goals, obviously, in 18 minutes,” Hoffman said. “That’s awesome.”
In the 40th minute, LouCity defender Sean Reynolds was sent off after a second yellow card, leaving coach James O’Connor’s team with 10 men for the rest of the game. Despite playing a man down, LouCity refused to lose, limiting FCC to scoring an ultimately meaningless goal in stoppage time. O’Connor said he was extremely proud the mentality his team showed in the victory.
“Great credit to Chandler, but I think the team has to take all the plaudits. I think to play in front of 20,000 and show the courage and the heart we had out there, I stand here and I couldn’t be prouder of my team,” O’Connor said. “That was exceptional. To a man, each and every one of our players that came on, that’s how to play football.”
LouCity won the game in front of a USL record 20,497 fans. Hoffman said he had a great time playing in a rivalry game with so much attention from both FCC and LouCity fans.
“Setting the USL attendance record, it was just a great environment,” Hoffman said. “As a player, that’s why you play the game. For nights like tonight.”
O’Connor and his squad will look to continue its winning form against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Friday night in Harrisburg.
Today’s match is the first edition of the River Cities Cup, the new rivalry between Louisville City FC and FC Cincinnati.
Both teams have grabbed six points each in their first three matches.
Both LouCity coach James O’Connor and FC Cincinnati John Harkes played in the English Premier League. O’Connor played for Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday. Harkes played for Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Nottingham Forest.
The match is just the fourth overall in FC Cincinnati history and only the second in Nippert Stadium.
Both teams were victorious last week. LouCity kept all three points at home with a 4-1 victory over Orlando City B, while FC Cincinnati defeated the Charlotte Independence 2-1 in the club’s first game in Cincinnati.
Louisville City FC Match Report
Match: FC Cincinnati vs. Louisville City FC
Date: April 16, 2016
Competition: United Soccer League
Venue: Nippert Stadium
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. EST
Weather: 76 degrees; sunny
Goal Scoring Rundown
FCC: 6th Minute – Austin Berry: Berry headed home a short free kick from the right side of the box courtesy of Tyler Polak.
LOU: 17th Minute – Chandler Hoffman: Hoffman converted a penalty kick after an FCC handball in the box. Hoffman cooly put the ball past the keeper on the left side of the net.
LOU: 24th Minute – Chandler Hoffman: Fullback Kyle Smith dribbled up the right side for LouCity and crossed a beautiful ball to Hoffman for his second goal of the game.
LOU: 34th Minute – Chandler Hoffman: Another LouCity fullback, Ben Newnam, crossed a nice ball into the middle of the box, which game Hoffman a hat trick.
FCC: 90th+ Minute – Pat McMahon: McMahon scored in stoppage time for FCC, heading home a corner past Goodwin.
Key Defensive Stops and Saves
LOU: 26th Minute – Scott Goodwin: Goodwin came off his line and denied FCC striker Sean Okoli after FCC played a through ball past the LouCity defense.
LOU: 63rd Minute – Scott Goodwin: The LouCity stopper made a key save when an FCC player headed a corner kick on goal. Goodwin calmly caught the ball and kept Cincinnati at one goal.
LOU: 1-Scott Goodwin; 24-Kyle Smith, 6-Tarek Morad, 15-Sean Reynolds, 2-Ben Newnam; 36-Paolo DelPiccolo, 4-Aodhan Quinn (c), 7-Kadeem Dacres (70’ 22-George Davis IV), 11-Niall McCabe (43’ Conor Shanosky), 77-Andrew Lubahn (83’ 20-Enrique Montano); 17-Chandler Hoffman (60’ 9-Cameron Lancaster)
Subs not used: 13-Greg Ranjitsingh, 8-Guy Abend, 20-Enrique Montano, 14-Ilija Ilic,
FCC: 1-Mitch Hildebrant; 15-Pat McMahon, 22-Austin Berry, 4-Harrison Delbridge, 3-Tyler Polak (79’ 24-Derek Luke); 6-Kenney Walker (80’ 10-Eric Stevenson), 19-Corben Bone, 5-Ross Tomaselli (70’ 29-Antoine Hoppenot); 23-Andrew Wiedman, 9-Sean Okoli, 20-Jim McLaughlin (65’ 18-Omar Mohomed)
Subs not used: 30-Dallas Jaye, 2-Jamie Dell, 8-Paul Nicholson