Wilson Harris and Josh Wynder scored rapid-fire second-half goals Wednesday night at Lynn Family Stadium as Louisville City FC rallied past Detroit City FC, 2-1, and clinched the top spot in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference.
The three points secured LouCity’s highest regular-season points total in the club’s eight-year history as well as home-field advantage through at least the Eastern Conference Final.
“I thought we started the game really well,” said LouCity coach Danny Cruz. “We took our foot off the gas a little bit — gave them a little too much joy — and we made the decision at halftime to change the shape. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I was really proud of how the group responded. I thought it made us better in the second half.”
With its win and a Memphis 901 FC draw, LouCity (21-6-6, 69 points) built a seven-point cushion from second-place Memphis with one match left in the regular season.
The boys in purple will host an Eastern Conference semifinal on Oct. 29 at Lynn Family Stadium with the chance to host the conference final a week later with a win. Fans can visit LouCity.com/playoffs for the latest ticketing information.
“When I look at the body of work that my staff and these players have put in this year, I’m extremely proud that the East has to come through Louisville,” Cruz said. “This is a difficult place to play because of the fans, the stadium and the field size.”
To get there, City put on a ferocious second-half rally on Wednesday night, claiming its first comeback win after trailing at halftime since 2019.
Former City forward Antoine Hoppenot opened the scoring in the first half with a 42nd-minute goal to give the visitors the lead.
The boys in purple equalized in the 61st minute through Harris, who scored his 15th goal of the season and fourth in four games. The star forward combined with City winger Enoch Mushagalusa through the half-space on the right side of Detroit City’s box, and when a Detroit defender got a piece of the ball, it deflected back off Harris and stayed in his path toward goal. His right-footed effort beat Detroit goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher.
“Wilson was dangerous all evening,” Cruz said. “I thought his movement was really good, and I was happy to see him rewarded for his work rate.”
Three minutes later, Wynder skied over a Detroit City defender to head in the game-winner off a corner. It was the second goal of the 17-year-old’s breakout campaign.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game from the beginning, and then we saw the formation change would help us,” Wynder said. “Once we went to the back three, it changed the momentum of the game. Everyone probably felt like after the first goal that we’d get another. I got my chance and finished it.”
For City, the dogged performance marked a second consecutive win and the 12th of the year at home. The boys in purple outshot Detroit, 17-7, and controlled possession 57.3% of the game.
This is the third time LouCity will have the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, hitting one of the milestones Cruz set out for his team at the start of the season.
“It’s definitely awesome, but we still have some work to do,” Wynder said. “The home games are the biggest part. We do much better at home, and it’ll be great to play here.”
Game Summary: Louisville City FC vs. Detroit City FC
Date: October 5, 2022
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 72 degrees, clear
Player of the Match: Josh Wynder
Louisville City FC (0, 2, 2)
Detroit City FC (1, 0, 1)
Louisville City FC:
61’ Wilson Harris
64’ Josh Wynder (Ray Serrano)
Detroit City FC:
42’ Antoine Hoppenot (Deklan Wynne)
Louisville City FC: 1 – Kyle Morton, 15 – Manny Perez, 3 – Amadou Dia, 4 – Sean Totsch, 6 – Wes Charpie; 12 – Tyler Gibson, 13 – Corben Bone, 36 – Paolo DelPiccolo (45’ 66 – Josh Wynder), 14 – Wilson Harris, 21 – Ray Serrano (88’ 23 – Elijah Wynder), 77 – Enoch Mushagalusa (79’ 17 – Cameron Lancaster)
Subs not used: 18 – Danny Faundez, 19 – Oscar Jimenez, 7 – Napo Matsoso, 8 – Carlos Moguel Jr.
Head Coach: Danny Cruz
Detroit City FC: 1 – Nate Steinwascher, 12 – Michael Bryant, 5 – Stephen Carroll (39’ 22 – Karl Ouimette), 15 – Matt Lewis, 2 – Rhys Williams, 20 – Deklan Wynne, 21 – Maxi Rodriguez, 8 – Abdoulaye Diop (84’ 9 – Francis Atuahene), 11 – Connor Rutz, 29 – Antoine Hoppenot (49’ 19 – Patricio Botello Faz), 27 – Yazeed Matthews
Subs not used: 13 – Ryan Shellow, 23 – Richard Foster, 6 – Brad Dunwell, 14 – Cy Goddard
Head Coach: Trevor James
Stats Summary: Louisville City FC / Detroit City FC
Shots: 17 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Possession: 57.3% / 42.7%
Fouls: 9 / 11
Offside: 5 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Louisville City FC:
80’ Cameron Lancaster
Detroit City FC:
33’ Deklan Wynne
34’ Stephen Carroll
73’ Abdoulaye Diop
Referee: John Griggs