There were chills all throughout Lynn Family Stadium Saturday night — literally and figuratively — as the Louisville City FC team defeated the Atlanta United 2 team 1-0 in the freezing cold.
In the 69th minute, Wilson Harris scored the game-winning goal, thanks to an assist from Matiti Mushagalusa after a cross from Ray Serrano.
Not only was it LouCity’s first goal of the season, it was also Harris’ first goal as a LouCity team member. The 22-year-old, who was formerly the most goalscoring teenage pro soccer player in the country, joined the team in February of this year.
In a post-game press conference, coach Danny Cruz expressed his pride in his team and his gratitude for their fans.
Still, he said, he and his team “have so much room for growth. Tonight was a win – an important win – but there’s a lot to improve on still. As everybody continues to get on the same page and we have all the cylinders firing, I walk away from this game very excited about what this season holds.”
Although the stadium was not totally full on Saturday night (likely due to the 26-degree weather), the club reported an attendance of about 8,300 fans, bundled up in all manner of purple scarves, jackets, masks and other winter wear. (The Big Four Bridge, which is most visible from the fan-centric Estopinal side of the stadium, was lit up purple for the occasion.)
One of those fans was Benton Newman, who runs the LouCity fan blog VamosMorados.com. He was named the inaugural season ticket holder of the match, for which the team awarded him a bag of gifts that included a LouCity blanket, a pair of signed cleats, a team scarf, a poster and a card. Newman is a member-at-large on the board of the supporters group the Louisville Coopers, who are best known for the drumming, purple smoke flares and chants that they bring to every match.
Speaking to LEO after the match, Newman said he was very excited to see the new players in action and is looking forward to seeing how Coach Cruz continues to develop the team.
Although Newman is a member of the loud-and-proud Coopers, his game experience of choice is quieter: he sits down during matches, away from the standing-room-only section of the Estopinal side where the most raucous fan action happens. As he put it, “Everybody ‘fans’ their own way,” and he “fans” by writing detailed match recaps and news updates about LouCity.
Still, he said, anyone who thinks they might like to see the match action firsthand ought to, even if they’ve never been to a game: “Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, it’s a fun experience and it’s worth spending a night doing.”
03/12/2022 | Photos by Carolyn Brown • [email protected] • @cebrownphoto