Preview: Louisville City looks to make history in USL Championship final

Louisville City, winner of the 2017 and 2018 league titles, aims to become the first U.S. men's outdoor pro team in more than 50 years to win three straight trophies when it hosts the Real Monarchs on Sunday night.

The game is a sell-out at the University of Louisville’s Lynn Stadium -- its baseball home, Slugger Field, is unavailable -- and will be Louisville City's last home game before it moves into its new Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville's Butchertown neighborhood in 2020.

Tickets sold out in about 90 minutes at Lynn Stadium, which will hold 7,000 fans when you include portable bleachers

John Hackworth came on board as the Louisville City head coach from the U.S. U-17 national team in the middle of the 2018 season and benefited from having a veteran team. But in the offseason, he lost several key players.

Leading scorer Cameron Lancaster joined Nashville SC with an eye on moving with the second-year USL club to MLS in 2020. Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh and right back Kyle Smith signed with MLS's Orlando City, while midfielder Ilija Ilic joined Indy Eleven, which Lou City beat in the Eastern Conference final.

Dane Magnus Rasmussen, who has played in four of Louisville City's five seasons, and Luke Spencer, who scored the winner in the 1-0 win over Phoenix in the 2018, have carried the bulk of the scoring with 16 and 10 goals, respectively.

Philadelphia's Ukrainian Nationals were the last team to win three of more outdoor league titles in a row when they captured the 1961-64 ASL championships.

Louisville City Probable XI
AGE NAME (COUNTRY)
24 Chris Hubbard (USA)
30 Oscar Jimenez (USA, All-USL Championship first team)
27 Paco Craig (England, All-USL Championship second team)
28 Sean Totsch (USA)
33 Pat McMahon (USA)
27 Speedy Williams (Jamaica)
26 Magnus Rasmussen (Denmark, All-USL Championship first team)
29 Niall McCabe (Ireland)
29 Brian Ownby (USA)
28 Antoine Hoppenot (France)
28 Luke Spencer (USA)

The Real Monarchs are owned and operated by Real Salt Lake and rely heavily on players on loan from the MLS club. Interim coach Jamison Olave, which replaced Martin Vazquez in mid-season, started six RSL players in the Western Conference final against El Paso.

They include Luke Mulholland, who has played 123 games in six MLS seasons, 18-year-old keeper David Ochoa, who should get a crack at replacing retired keeper Nick Rimando next season, and Tate Schmitt, an RSL Homegrown Player signing out of the University of Louisville.

The Monarchs are without young Honduran Douglas Martinez, who has scored 17 goals but was given a one-game suspension by the USL's Independent Disciplinary Panel following the review of an incident late in the Western Conference final against El Paso.

Real Monarchs Probable XI
AGE NAME (COUNTRY)
18 *David Ochoa (USA)
23 *Erik Holt (USA)
25 James Moberg (USA)
28 Kalen Ryden (USA)
27 Konrad Plewa (Poland)
31 *Luke Mulholland (England)
22 *Tate Schmitt (USA)
27 *Justin Portillo (USA)
28 Maikel Chang (Cuba)
25 Jack Blake (England)
23 Kyle Coffee (USA)
*Under contract to Real Salt Lake.
mls, usl
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