I arrive several hours before kick-off in Louisville and drive straight to the stadium to buy a ticket. The Lynn Family Stadium is an absolutely stunning new stadium just outside of downtown, still at walkable distance. Opened in 2020, the 15,304 people stadium has three large stands (with minimum coverage) and one smaller one, and is shared between Louisville City FC (men), which plays in the USL Championship (Second Division) and Racing Louisville FC (women), which plays in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
Unfortunately, they only sell e-tickets. Moreover, the tickets have to be bought through one provider (and a special app) that charges $10. This is scandalous and yet again shows that soccer is a middle class sports in the US and is very comfortable to keep a clear financial hurdle for poorer people. The cheapest tickets are $20 ($30 with charge) and I get one for $50 ($60) with charge which puts me almost at the half and very close to the pitch. Perfect seat really.
I return to the stadium early, after having found a free parking space just outside the stadium and walk around the stadium a few times. Everything is brand new and the food options are impressive. As it is Pride Month, Louisville City FC has made this Pride Night and, in good pink washing fashion, is cashing in on it.
Interestingly, the national anthem is played before the two teams are on the pitch, I assume to prevent possible controversy over kneeling, but both teams do a 15 second silence circle against racism. Funny how this is uncontroversial. Also quite lame is that Louisville City FC wears special pride jerseys during warm-up but not during the game.
The stadium looks a bit over half full, but the official attendance is 10,927 – I assume they count all season ticket holders, whether they are present or not. The fans are overall middle class and white but with some diversity. The vast majority is decked out in a broad variety of LCFC gear, including special pride gear. I’m somewhat surprised that there are not that many people in the “ultras” block behind the goal — there are several drums and a lot of tifo though.
The game starts at a decent level and is played on a (very dry) AstroTurf pitch, which should make control easier. Quite unexpectedly, in the 6th minute, a Louisville attack over the right side goes in through a deflection. A lucky early lead.
However, just three minutes later Indy has a beautiful counterattack that is headed in perfectly: 1-1. Turns out there are quite a few Indy Eleven supporters in the stadium, including next to me. I guestimate some 250 are in the away section. While Indianapolis is only a two-hour drive from Louisville, it is rare for US sports fans to travel, so this is quite an impressive turnout.
Just five minutes later Louisville is back up, again through a deflection, this time of a shot from 25 meter or so. We are just fifteen minutes in and it is already 2-1. Crazy! Then again, in the 20th minute Indy has another good break and equalizes again: 2-2.
The early evening game is played at 90 F (32 C) but because of a good breeze it is very pleasant in the stand. However, it must be very hot for the players and the pace goes down rapidly. There are some shots at goal, which go just wide, but in the 41st minute the visitors have a rather slow attack and a through ball is finished cold and precise: 2-3. This is also the half time score: what a game!
The second half has a bit of a slow start but in the 55th minute Louisville has a good attack with a smart cross pass, but the Indy goalie saves. The corner is headed just wide. The visitors play very deep in the second half, so deep that they have no one up front to counter with, which also means that they get no time to breath.
In the 68th minute the hosts have a kind of odd ball that is tipped just wide. Five minutes later Indy has its first good chance, but the Louisville goalie saves spectacularly. In the 78th minute a quick attack by Louisville goes in, a deserved and partly self-inflicted would for Indy. 3-3 would also be the final score.
This was an absolutely wonderful football experience, among one of the best and most authentic I have had in the US, certainly outside of the MLS. The Louisville fans are not the most fanatic, but there is a good atmosphere and the stadium is gorgeous. Definitely worth a trip for any groundhopper. I will be back to see Racing Louisville FC!