Ray Serrano and Niall McCabe scored second half goals Wednesday in lifting Louisville City FC to its first win of 2024, continuing preseason play with a 2-0 victory over El Paso Locomotive FC at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona.
The result came on the heels of a 2-2 weekend draw at Major League Soccer’s Austin FC. It also marked El Paso’s second preseason game of the year.
“I thought it was a collective performance from the group,” said coach Danny Cruz. “We created a lot of opportunities, and we talked about it in the locker room after the game: These are moments and chances that we need to make sure that we’re finishing.
“Overall, the performance was excellent. We’re really happy with where we’re at in the preseason — the objectives that we’re looking to improve on. At this point I’m really happy with how the group is coming together.”
Serrano scored Wednesday’s game winner in the 57th minute after an El Paso turnover in the back. McCabe then doubled LouCity’s lead with a free kick from the top of the box in the 62nd minute, converting mere seconds after he entered the game.
The goals were coming after LouCity started on the front foot. Newcomer forward Adrien Perez forced El Paso’s keeper into a first-minute save. Later, Perez hit the cross bar in the 22nd minute before another offseason acquisition, Sam Gleadle, closed the first half with a 44th-minute chance sent just wide.
Cruz rotated most of his squad in 45-minute shifts Wednesday aside from a few planned substitutions at the half-hour marks. Along with LouCity’s signed players, multiple trialists and youth academy standouts are on the trip out west.
It won’t be long until LouCity and El Paso meet again, as the boys in purple kick off their USL Championship season away to the Locomotive on March 16. In the meantime, LouCity’s preseason slate continues Sunday when the boys in purple meet Sacramento Republic FC, also in Tucson.
2024 Louisville City FC Preseason Schedule
Feb. 3 at Austin FC (D, 2-2)
Feb. 7 vs. El Paso Locomotive FC (W, 2-0)
Feb. 11 vs. Sacramento Republic FC
Feb. 15 at St. Louis CITY SC
Feb. 18 vs. Lexington SC
March 1 vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
March 9 vs. One Knoxville SC