The hopes of lifting the USL Cup for both Louisville City FC and the Swope Park Rangers come down to tonight as the two square off in Kentucky.
Both teams are looking for their first ever USL Cup, as Louisville City are making their first appearance in the final. The top team in the 2017 Eastern Conference standings, is facing off against the fourth-place finishers in the West.
Louisville City danced their way past the Bethlehem Steel 4-0 in the opening round, before squeaking past the Rochester Rhinos 1-0 in the semifinals. A 4-3 penalty kick shootout win over last year’s winners, New York Red Bulls II gave Louisville a spot in Monday’s final.
Luke Spencer (11 goals) and Brian Ownby (seven goals) are two offensive players to watch for the hosts, who have both scored this postseason. Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh has only needed to make seven saves this postseason, keeping two clean sheets in the process.
As for Swope Park, they have booked their spot in the final after winning two of their three playoff fixtures by shootout. A 4-2 penalty kick victory over Phoenix Rising opened their run, before eliminating the Sacramento Republic by a 1-0 margin in the semi’s. A 7-6 shootout win over OKC Energy, gave Swope City their second consecutive USL Cup appearance.
After being drubbed 5-1 in last year’s final by NYRBII, Swope Park will hope to have a much better performance this time around. Kharlton Belmar leads the team with 17 goals this season, and is also a threat in setting up others. Nansel Selbol is a nice supplement to Belmar, scoring 11 goals himself. Goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas has seven saves in-goal, with two clean sheets.