by Kevin Kernen
photos by Jared Anderson
The Cards opened up ACC conference play Sunday under an overcast sky as they looked to put a disappointing loss in the midweek against Kentucky firmly in the rear view. The task Sunday afternoon came in the form of a top-ten match up as they welcomed second-ranked Duke to town.
Despite playing just once in the previous 12 days, UofL came out with a chip on their shoulder. While their touches erred on the sloppy side, the boys in white had their say in matters for the majority of the opening quarter hour, albeit a Cherif Dieye cross-cum-shot would be as close as the hosts got in the opening passage.
As time wore on, the game got markedly more physical. A number of crunching tackles were narrowly avoided by either side as tensions rose. Things came to a head in the 21st minute when UofL defender William Portman put in a late challenge on Duke Freshman midfielder Issa Rayyan and picked up the games first caution, courtesy of referee Charles Murphy.
Play was halted in the 29th minute after Adam Wilson saw a shot from just inside the box blocked by the face of Duke midfielder Aedan Stanley, which required treatment for the visiting player. Moments later, UofL tested Will Pulisic in net, the shot also registered by Wilson.
Some very slick passing, connected by Geoffrey Dee in the midfield, opened up the Blue Devil’s defense and yielded the Card’s most promising chance in the half just 7 minutes from the intermission, but the eventual shot from Dee was blocked by a defender, just yards from goal.
The Cards would have to chalk up the first half as a moral victory, failing to score while owning a 6 to 1 edge in shots, but only turning a single one of them onto frame.
Although it had been precipitating in some form since kickoff, the drizzle turned to a proper rain around the 50th minute.
It took until the 53rd minute for the Cards to make good on their advantage, as a series of penetrating aerial balls first from Cody Cochran out of the back, to Tate Schmitt, and before Kino Ryosuke laid it off to Adam Wilson before the 6-foot-1 Scot uncorked a goal of the highest order over Pulisic.
“Just shoot, coaches tell us attacking players to go ahead and shoot when you get in that area… the performance that we had today in the defensiveness and in the counterattack gave us the opportunity to go and do that, I’m just happy that it went in on one of my shots” said Wilson
“The focus going into it after last game was just to have 90 minutes of relentless effort, and we got that” said coach Lolla “The effort was very good, the energy was great”
Credit to the defense as well, as the Cards maintained their advantage as the match grew testier in nature. A total of 6 cards were brandished on the afternoon. The Blue Devils were afforded just 6 shots, two of which required Gelnovatch’s intervention.
Duke mounted little in the way of resistance, and the tide turned firmly in favor of the Cardinals.
Ziyad Fekri tallied the second of the match for the cards in the 78th minute as he rose above his marker on the back end of a corner, taken by Wilson.
The die looked cast at that point, and it was only a question of how sizable the margin of victory the home Cards would be celebrating.
Minutes later, sophomore midfielder Elija Amo made an impeccably well-timed run behind the Blue Devil’s backline, and a simple Tate Schmitt pass through yielded him his second assist on the game, and furnished Amo with his first goal of the year.
In fact, each Cardinal goalscorer tallied their first of the 2018 campaign.
The soccer Cards return to action friday, traveling to Boston College for a 7pm kickoff, coverage can be found on ACC Network Extra.
UofL: 52:27, Adam Wilson; 77:43, Ziyad Fekri; 81:44, Elija Amo
Kevin Kernen is the senior men's soccer correspondent for River City Cards. He also is the color commentator for Louisville City FC, and co-host of Soccer City Radio... MORE