Louisville senior Mohamed Thiaw. Photo by Mike Gilpatrick, River City Cards
#5 louisville upset at home on senior night
UofL welcomed the Wolfpack of NC State (7-4-3(2-3-1)) into Lynn Stadium Saturday evening for Senior night in front of a 1,978 strong crowd.
NC State set up very defensively from the start, keeping close tabs on senior striker and imminent goal scoring threat Mohamed Thiaw. The Cards looked the stronger side in the opening passage of the game, and garnered the first real chance of the contest when Tate Schmitt blasted a shot just over NCSU keeper Leon Krampf’s crossbar in the 26th minute. Apart from an offsides goal, the ‘Pack looked fairly innocuous going forward, until a stellar through ball from Orlando City SC product David Loera found fellow midfielder Manny Perez, who was already on the goal side of his defender, and slotted it to Will Meyer’s right side to net the only score from the first half. UofL continued to apply the pressure but the visitors only became more resolute in defense, surrendering nothing more than a few half chances to see out the period.
UofL immediately came out of the half with a newfound fire, and earned a pair of quality shots on goal in the first five minutes. They finally unlocked the NC State defense when the ‘Pack became a victim of their own conservative setup in the 58th minute as a cluster of defenders in their own box tripped up Thiaw, drawing a debatably soft penalty decision from center official Lance VanHaitsma. Disregarding the old adage that the fouled player shouldn’t take the spot-kick, Thiaw stepped up and converted the penalty to the right of a helpless Krapf.
In the succeeding minutes, the Cards looked as strong as ever, finding some imagination and industry. Keeping possession largely in their attacking third. As the half wore on, the game came back to NCSU and started to resemble a track meet. UofL were guilty of giving up a few cheap free kicks in their own half, but State could do little to take advantage of it.
Thiaw maintained his balance while shoulder to shoulder with a ‘Pack defender to sweep the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, courtesy of a well-placed Tim Kubel assist.
The Wolfpack found the ball in the back of the Cards’ net for the second time of the game moments later, but had their goal called offsides, only to finally equalize in the 82nd minute of regulation.
The visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck and Loera again found Manny Perez on yet another through ball that caught out the Cards’ defense, a simple move on Meyer left the goal agape for the Perez, who made no mistakes in tallying the winning goal just 2 minutes from the final whistle.
The result marks just the second loss on the year, and the first in 9 games for the #5 ranked Cards, also the second in conference.
UofL travels to Clemson for their regular season finale on Friday, before returning home to host a second round game in the ACC Tournament the following weekend, having secured a top-8 seed.