HARRISON, N.J. — “All teams go through little ruts,” Louisville City FC captain Aodhan Quinn said Friday night after a 1-0 loss that moved the New York Red Bulls II ahead three points in the USL standings — and with a pair of games in hand.
Down the hall at Red Bull arena, shouts could be heard from New York’s locker room. The guys in purple were more reserved.
“I think they get up for it. We get up for it,” Quinn said of games against Red Bulls II. “It’s always a good, tight game, and I think that if we get them in the playoffs, it’ll be a little different.”
That’s the hope for LouCity, which continued to out-shoot opponents Friday but come away with results less than ideal. Louisville fired 12 shots, one more than New York’s 11, but the Red Bulls II were awarded a penalty kick in the 74th minute and made it count.
There was no offsetting forward Brandon Allen’s game-winner despite a LouCity roster that coach James O’Connor says “worked extremely hard.”
“In a game like that, you need to take your chances,” added O’Connor, whose team is 1-2-2 since its 17-game unbeaten streak ended last month. “When you get into those areas, it needs to finish with a shot at goal that tests the keeper. You need to get something from it.
“I think we got into some areas, but you need to get an end product.”
O’Connor took note of defender Kyle Smith and Kadeem Dacres working well along the right side. Mark-Anthony Kaye also came on as a substitute in the 65th minute and showed skills with the ball at his feet.
There were plenty of solid looks, including two shots by forward Chandler Hoffman on goal. None found their way past New York keeper Ryan Meara even as LouCity tweaked its formation late.
But rather than try to get in behind with Dacres and Kaye pushing up, O’Connor saw LouCity playing balls too short.
“It comes down to decision making, because we’re getting to the right spots,” Quinn said. “…It’s not up to the other teams or anything. It’s down to us working harder on the training ground, and it will eventually come out on Saturdays.”
LouCity has five games to go in its regular season before the USL’s single-elimination playoffs begin. Entering the postseason in first place appears a longshot — the Red Bulls II have extra games to accumulate points — but a No. 2 finish would mean the opportunity to host at least two games to start October.
“We’re not going to give up,” Quinn said. “We’re going to keep fighting and try to get as many wins as possible and hopefully do well in the playoffs.”
Added O’Connor: “Sometimes in life, you get a good kick in the rear, so it’s all about how you react. You need to accept it, be men and fight even harder, which we’ll definitely do.”