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Louisville City extends opening round unbeaten streak, 3-1 over Greenville Triumph

Wilson Harris of Louisville City FC celebrates after scoring a goal against Greenville Triumph in the Third Round of the 2024 US Open Cup. Photo: Connor Cunningham - Louisville City FC
Wilson Harris of Louisville City FC celebrates after scoring a goal against Greenville Triumph in the Third Round of the 2024 US Open Cup. Photo: Connor Cunningham – Louisville City FC

Powerhouses from the USL Championship and USL League One squared off in Louisville, KY for the Third Round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday night. The home side, Louisville City FC, has amassed two league titles and boasts an impressive nine straight conference final appearances dating back to their start in 2015. The Greenville Triumph, meanwhile, find themselves on a comparable trajectory winning USL League One in their second season and making two more finals appearances since they joined the league in 2019.

Thoughts of a “cupset” in this cross-league heavyweight matchup were quelled by an early LouCity goal. However, added time goals from both the Triumph and Louisville kept things interesting until the end with the home side prevailing, 3-1.

With the win, Louisville advances to the Fourth Round. It marked the eighth tournament in a row that Louisville has advanced in their opening round game. In fact, their 7-0-1 (1-0 PK) record in opening round games also boasts an impressive total of 24 goals scored with just two against (with six clean sheets) They will learn their opponent in Round 4 when the draw takes place on Thursday.

Before many fans could even find their seats, LouCity’s Sean Totsch secured the early lead. His 2nd minute goal off a header to the near post from a corner kick by Niall McCabe, was Totsch’s his fifth career goal in the competition. It is the most career Open Cup goals in team history, breaking a tie with Cameron Lancaster.

The boys in purple kept Greenville on the back of their feet, venting their frustrations from the club’s first loss of the season in USL Championship play. Totsch nearly earned a brace in the 34th minute when a free kick was gifted to him at the far post, but the partial contact he made on the ball was not enough to get a shot on target.

The Triumph, who only had found a few forgettable shots, got their first real look at scoring in the 37th minute when Leo Castro got past the league’s reigning defender of the year, Arturo Ordonez, and fired a shot goal-bound that the keeper, Danny Faundez, deflected away.

Just minutes later, a bold Jansen Wilson shot from outside the box forced a deflection from Greenville’s Gunther Rankenburg. Louisville’s clinical finisher, Wilson Harris, was there for the rebounded shot, but an imperfect hit allowed Rankenburg a second chance at securing the ball.

It remained 1-0 at halftime, with the Triumph not yet out of the match.

The rising star, Wilson Harris, needed little time to extend Louisville’s lead in the second half. The developing Wilson-to-Wilson connection made this possible with Jansen Wilson providing the low cross that Harris easily tapped home inside the six-yard box. This was his third career US Open Cup goal with his two previous ones coming in the 2022 tournament.

The Triumph’s Rankenburg made two great blocks in the 68th minute from Adrien Perez and Wilson Harris to keep his team in the match. He was in action again just a few minutes later with an outstanding save of a header coming from a freekick.

A scary collision in the 75th minute was enough for the LouCity staff to sub out their keeper and bring on the rookie, Ryan Troutman, for his professional debut. Ten minutes later, the Triumph tested Troutman with two shots that he managed to stop with a third heading goal bound, but cleared off the line by Ordonez. This quick and thrilling sequence garnered the biggest eruption of cheers from the announced crowd of 4,373 in attendance at Lynn Family Stadium.

“I got a little emotional after the game,” said the Louisville native Troutman. “I’ve been coming to these games for a long time — 10 years now — and to make my debut, my whole family was here. It was really something special, and I’m glad I have the support from all the guys, all the fans, my family. It’s something really, really special. I’ll remember this the rest of my life.”

However, the match was not quite done producing exciting moments. Greenville’s Hayden Anderson put one into Louisville’s net on a counter sequence in the third minute of second half stoppage time, putting the League One side just a goal away from sending the match into extra time. The goal also denied City a chance for a sixth consecutive clean sheet in opening round games. The last time they allowed a goal in an opening round game was at home against Detroit City FC (when they were an NPSL team) in the Second Round of the 2016 tournament. That is a span of 555 minutes of shutout soccer.

However, it was not meant to be as Jorge Gonzalez squashed those dreams after a steal near midfield. Gonzalez received the ball near midfield and dribbled all the way into the box and finished to the near post after a deflection off a defender.

“This is a historic tournament,” said LouCity head coach Danny Cruz after his squad’s win. “It’s about making sure you’re doing everything you can to advance.”

This victory marked Louisville’s fifth win across all competitions with only one loss as Louisville eyes a return to playing for a trophy. Greenville can hold their heads high, as they kept the match competitive against a larger club. While their cup dreams will have to wait another year, their focus can revert to League One play where their 3-1-1 record has them sitting in first as they look to continue their growing tradition of success.

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