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Louisville City wins second-straight USL Cup

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Luke Spencer’s second half goal off a scramble in the box sent Louisville City past Didier Drogba‘s Phoenix Rising to win the USL Cup title with a 1-0 win at Lynn Stadium on Thursday.

Lou City become the first USL team to win back-to-back USL Cups, having knocked off Swope Park Rangers last season.

The match is set to stand as the final one of Drogba’s celebrated playing career.

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The Seattle Sounders and Rochester Rhinos both won league titles when it was called the A-League.

Xavier product Spencer, 27, played 67 minutes in the 2017 final but was the unquestioned star on Thursday.

USL Playoffs: FC Cincinnati, Phoenix’s Drogba stage farewell tours

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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The last three clubs to participate in the USL Cup Final are still alive in the 2018 edition of the USL Cup Playoffs, but all eyes are a fourth club.

FC Cincinnati hasn’t lost a match since May 26, the soon-to-be MLS club kickoff off a 24-match unbeaten run with a win over New York Red Bulls II a week later.

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Those two sides meet in the quarterfinals on Saturday, a match-up of the top team in the league and a Red Bulls side which won the cup in 2016.

The winner will meet either No. 2 seed Louisville City or No. 6 Bethlehem Steel. Louisville is led by USL Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster, a 25-year-old Londoner who made a single 12-minute appearance for Tottenham Hotspur against Wigan in 2014.

Out West, there’s another Premier League experienced player who plenty more neutrals have known for some time. Didier Drogba returned after four months off to play three of Phoenix Rising’s final four regular season matches, turning on the juice with a goal in the first round of the playoffs as Phoenix blew out Portland Timbers 2.

Phoenix faces No. 7 seed Swope Park Rangers, which has lost the past two USL Cup finals and should not be overlooked.

The fourth quarterfinal sees Orange County SC and Reno 1868 FC meeting in Irvine. OC is paced by former Akron University standout Aodhan Quinn, who has 11 goals and 15 assists. Former Southampton man Jos Hooiveld is also on the squad, and may be tasked with shutting down Jamaican striker Brian Brown.

U.S. Open Cup wrap: Louisville ousts Revs, DC dodges “Cupset”

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Three of eight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round matches are complete following Tuesday night action involving USL and MLS competition.

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Louisville City 3-2 New England Revolution

The USL hosts overcame a fifth minute concession and 26th minute own goal with a pair of equalizers, and took hold of its “Cupset” with a Brian Ownby 62nd minute marker.

Mark Segbers opened the scoring for New England before Oscar Jimenez leveled the tie. An own goal put Brad Friedel‘s men back on top, but Cameron Lancaster made it 2-2 in the 37th minute.

But Ownby’s goal, well, it was befitting of a big moment in the nascent life of Lou City.

DC United 1-1 North Carolina FC (NCFC wins in PKs)

Ian Harkes scored an Open Cup goal for the second successive season, but his first half goal was met in the second by Marios Lomis seven minutes from stoppage time.

The match went to penalty kicks after 120 minutes were in the books. David Ousted stopped NC’s second effort and the visitors his the cross bar with their fourth shot. Harkes then sent his chance to clinch it wide of the frame, but Bruno Miranda netted the fifth effort.

Philadelphia Union 5-0 Richmond Kickers

Philly built a 4-0 halftime lead, cruising to a win on the strength of five goal scorers: Jack Elliott, David Accam, Anthony Fontana, Marcus Epps, and Jay Simpson.

The Union lost consecutive finals in 2014 and 2015, and move on to another quarterfinal round.