There were shades of 2015 on Saturday as Louisville City FC’s Kadeem Dacres worked the right side, reunited in the attacking midfield area with Magnus Rasmussen.
The two didn’t hook up for a goal during LouCity’s 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel FC, but their combinations threatened in Rasmussen’s first start this season.
Former roommates, Louisville’s top returning scorers from a season ago “know when to pass, when to dribble, when to yell, when to say, ‘Come on buddy. You need to step up now,'” Rasmussen said.
With the playoffs looming, the Denmark native figures goals are coming.
Rasmussen missed LouCity’s preseason while on the mend from hip surgery. While fully rehabbed now, he has played limited minutes, with coach James O’Connor reasoning all along that the 23-year-old didn’t yet have his fitness back.
Daily training caught Rasmussen up to the point that this week, O’Connor informed the midfielder he’d get the start just behind forward Cameron Lancaster, fitting in as “a more natural No. 10” in the club’s lineup. Niall McCabe has primarily held that position in 2016 but is now battling an injury of his own.
“We’ve had to manage Magnus,” O’Connor said. “Magnus had a great season for us last year, and obviously he had the operation in the offseason. It went on a lot longer than we wanted in regards to his recovery.
“…The issue becomes with Magnus, we haven’t been able to get him in games.”
O’Connor said he spoke with staffers for the Derby City Rovers, a local Premier Development League team, about loaning Rasmussen for games. But dates didn’t match up with LouCity’s schedule.
The fan favorite — Rasmussen scored Louisville’s first-ever goal, and tallied eight total in 2015 — then finally made a lineup sheet Saturday.
“It was my first start in 10 months, so it was tough,” he said. “It was hard. But it was all worth it. It was fun. I love to play football, so I enjoyed it a lot.”
Rasmussen has learned plenty since coming to the United States to play for LouCity, including the English language. On the pitch, he said he was surprised by the physicality of the American game.
In Denmark, “It’s a little bit more pass and go, pass and go,” rather than hold your ground, he said, adding that “it’s in my nature that I don’t rush it. I look for the right pass at the right time. If I get fouled, I get fouled. You just get up and keep going.”
Rasmussen put a shot on frame before leaving in the 87th minute Saturday, substituted out for Ilija Ilic. The starting job appears his to lose with four games left in the regular season — and as for the playoffs, Rasmussen said, “It’s going to be great.”