By Quin Welch, LouCity Insider
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville City FC kicked off its preseason schedule with an impressive 4-0 win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville behind closed doors on Saturday at the Louisville City Training Ground.
The Cougars, reigning champions in the NCAA Division I Missouri Valley Conference, traveled four hours to visit Louisville City at its training ground for the two teams’ second-ever meeting. SIUE defeated LouCity, 1-0, in Indiana last April.
Coach James O’Connor said that while there are always things to work on, he was pleased with his team’s overall effort in the win.
“There were lots of things we can be encouraged by, but equally there are a couple of things we need to work on,” O’Connor said. “That was a quality, championship-caliber team we just played. We learned a lot (on Saturday): Things we’re pleased with and things to now work on.
“But overall, we’re pleased.”
Three LouCity players scored in Saturday’s match. Central defender Conor Shanosky (31′, 37′) put two headers into the back of the net off of set pieces, while fellow defender Tarek Morad (90+’) headed one in himself. Striker Chandler Hoffman (35′) converted a penalty kick after George Davis IV was taken down in the box.
O’Connor said he was quite happy to see so many different guys get a chance to score.
“It was great to see Conor score, it was great to Tarek score. I’m delighted for Chandler to get a goal,” O’Connor said. “I’m really pleased and that’s something we want to happen through the course of the year, for people to pitch in with goals. There were some really good performances today.”
The Louisville City coach said that although his team kept the ball for the majority of the match, he thought they could improve their mindfulness of scoring goals.
“We try to practice posession with a purpose,” O’Connor said. “You can’t have the ball all day and not do anything with it, so it’s always posession with a purpose that’s front of mind for us.”
Because the match was a friendly, both teams were able to substitute players as they wished. O’Connor said it was nice to be able to get so many different players on the field for Saturday’s game.
“A couple of lads got 90 minutes and we rotated a few to get those players some minutes,” O’Connor said. “We’re very pleased with that.”
Although LouCity won in convincing manner, O’Connor was quite complimentary of the Missouri Valley Conference champs.
“Great credit to Mario (Sanchez), he’s got a great program there and they won a championship,” O’Connor said. “He’s a really good coach and they’re a very good team. We’re very thankful to them for coming.”
Entering 2016, Louisville City FC has returned 13 players from the 2015 roster – including reigning USL Goal of the Season winner Aodhan Quinn, former English Premier League striker Cameron Lancaster and several Major League Soccer veterans like defender Ben Newnam. New additions include MLS Cup-winning forward Hoffman, University of Louisville alumnus Paolo DelPiccolo and University of Kentucky alumnus Davis.
Louisville City FC begins regular season play on March 26 at Charlotte Independence. LouCity then returns to Louisville Slugger Field on April 2 to host New York Red Bulls II in the home opener, with a special 3 p.m. kickoff.
Fans can stay up to date with all of Louisville City’s breaking news, roster updates and ticketing information by following the Club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Season tickets are available for Louisville City’s historic second season via the Club’s official website.