Only a few days following a stinging loss to Pittsburgh, Louisville City took part in the club’s second international friendly. Less than a month after the historic first friendly against Kaiserslautern, LouCity welcomed Atlante FC, one of Mexico’s top second-division teams. Much like the FCK match, this friendly offered the squad a chance to introduce several academy players to professional play. Dakota Hart and Jack Travis made their second appearances while Nick Harshaw debuted. Issac Cano, who signed an Academy contract in the offseason, also made his debut featuring as part of the starting eleven.
Atlante made it onto the scoresheet first right before the half ended with a hard-hit free kick that flew threw a sea of bodies and past keeper Danny Faundez. The visitors capitalized on a poor pass out from the back and extended their lead 2-0 at 70’. The boys in purple did ruin Atlante’s clean sheet when Cameron Lancaster made a wild shot from distance at 85’. The match concluded 2-1 in favor of Atlante.
85’ – Lancaster
It was another special night at Lynn Family Stadium, as fans had a chance to celebrate the beautiful game with a unique matchup devoid of the stresses of playing for points on the table. This match was a great chance to draw in new fans to see what their local club has to offer. “I saw a ton of different jerseys, which was awesome,” said Coach Danny Cruz. “There were some new fans tonight. My hope is they were entertained, they enjoyed the football — the style of play and intensity — and we get to see them next Saturday here at home.”
Several players commented on the match being personally exciting, having watched Atlante in Liga MX growing up. Oscar Jimenez did so on Soccer City Radio as well as Carlos Moguel after the match. “I remember being little, watching when they were in the first division, watching them on TV,” said Moguel of facing Atlante. “…It was great. Just being around that is a dream come true, personally.” The match featured a number of Hispanic-inspired promotions including music, food, margaritas, and luchador wrestling.
But let’s not forget some of the most special moments generated with friendlies like this is the ability to play youngsters and give them a taste of professional play. There were several debuts during the FCK match and there were more in this one as well. Academy player Nick Harshaw made his first appearance for the club as well as offseason signing Issac Cano “This is my dream,” said Cano, a graduate of Lexington’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. “This is what I was looking forward to my whole entire life, so to finally get it, my mindset was to go out there and take the opportunity presented in front of me.” Several young players have already followed in the footsteps of trailblazers Elijah Wynder, Josh Wynder, and Carlos Moguel through the pathway to the pros. Several important players are on the back half of their careers (although I’m not convinced that is the reason for the team’s current woes) and the blossoming youth academy is set to play an important role in the club’s preparations for the future.
Want to do a little more reading on LouCity? I suggest the following: