It is difficult to sit down and write this; we’re five years removed from both our teams entering USL. The landscape has changed since 2015 for the better. What was originally quite a fierce rivalry has turned into something warm and fuzzy. That said, we’ve never won the Kings’ Cup, and frankly, we’re due and I want to win it.
Every once in a while I forget we have newer members and that sometimes they don’t know what the hell we’re talking about. The Kings’ Cup may be one of those things that you hear some of us old Louligans talk about but aren’t sure exactly what it is. Well, I’m here to help. The Kings’ Cup is a rivalry created by the Coopers (one of the supporters groups of Louisville FC) and the St. Louligans. While we did sort of create it out of nothing, it was actually started by the fans. A big difference from the shiny plastic rivalries created by front offices. Before the 2015 season both LCFC and STLFC fans were vocal on social media and we were both expansion teams that would be playing each other 4 times. In addition to that our cities were actually close enough that we could muster decent traveling support. – Brad DeMunbrun 2016
Since we played that first game, a 2-0 victory for Louisville, our clubs have enjoyed our football; Louisville won the league twice, 4 Kings’ Cups, made the 2018 last 8 of the Open Cup*, and we also made the playoffs once. So it is like we’re the same. Ok, so I jest there. I do think however the rivalry has been muted somewhat by the differing trajectories each club has taken the first five years. Add closer cities like Indianapolis and Cincinnati** into the mix and we’re not the fierce heated game on the calendar anymore; Louisville can save that for the LMFAOC derby thing they have going on.
So what’s the Kings’ Cup all about now then? if it isn’t a heated rivalry, it is essentially a bunch of friends we’ve all met and interacted with online getting together and watching our teams play against each other. Also, it’s a chance for the Coopers to revisit with old friends in Sean, Kadeem and Guy who all turned out for the purple in their foremost years.
Whilst the Louligans haven’t seen much success on the pitch against Louisville City, mainly thanks to reckless red cards hindering our chances in previous Kings’ Cup games; off the pitch is where the game has really shined. In 2015, the first ever PizzaGate was held, which was a competition between the Coopers and Louligans to raise the most money for our respective local area food banks. It took off and over $18,000 dollars were raised that year alone. That’s the real success: that’s what local soccer support is about. In seeing the success of Pizzagate, the Charity Du Jour was born, which has gone from strength to strength in recent years and the St Louligans recently passing the $100,000 donations mark since inception.
The Coopers are not to be sniffed at in this regard either. Spearheaded by the LouCity Ladies, they’ve raised over $7,200 so far this season alone. “We’ve done Eco, veterans, animals and power soccer charities, but our biggest was Fairness Campaign, an LGCBTQ+ advocacy program” says Michele Crimson, “We love you guys.” Michele continues, “It’s like you are out of town family, We will compete and want to win obviously, but there is no heat in wanting you guys to lose” [you speak for yourself there Michele….. Ed]
So what about this year? After a 0-0 tie at Slugger it is all to play for again as winner takes all in Kings’ Cup MMXIX.
For those that are into Rules, here are the official rules of the Kings’ Cup:
The team with the most points from regular season matches between the two wins the Cup. Goal difference will serve as the first tiebreaker if the teams are tied on points, and away goals will be the second tiebreaker. If the teams are still tied after that, then the holder from the prior season keeps the Cup.
Basically, we have to win the game to win the cup.
Whilst Lou City are reigning USL champions, I do believe this is probably the best shot we’ve ever had of capturing the Kings’ Cup. Well I did until we lost to Memphis and tied with ATLUTD2. Louisville come into the game lying in 6th place, and haven’t lost in nine games. Saying that, we too have only lost one game in our past seven and both teams have managed to beat teams above us in the table recently, notably Red Bulls 2.
“It’s been a rollercoaster.” Says Taylor Sorrels, “I felt like we were righting the ship up until the last ten minutes of the game on Saturday, but that draw has probably cost us any chance of a top four finish. Now it is a bit on pins and needles.”
What we’ve found with STLFC this season however is we always play up to the competition. Saturday will have to be no different. Louisville are a tough team anchored by Del Piccolo, McCabe and the ever dangerous Luke Spencer. Add in the injection of youth that Hackworth has brought in, they’re a good blend of pace, youth, flair and steel. Louisville are more than capable of grinding out a 1-0 away win at Hartford and Charlotte yet blindsiding a team 5-0 on their day. Especially if that team gives them a hand with an early needless reckless red card. Cheers for that Musa and Volesky….
You all know the drill. Show up, make noise, have fun, and give generously.
* We also made the 2019 US Open Cup Quarterfinals.
** FC Cincinnati. The worst MLS team in history.