The Louisville Lightning traveled north on Saturday for a New Year’s Day clash with the Cincinnati Kings. After putting aside my Big East Football allegiance and missing UConn and TCU in bowl action to make the trek with the team, I arrived at the Cincinnati Gardens ready for some indoor soccer.
The Cincinnati Gardens reminds me a lot of the Louisville Gardens:, once a crown jewel of the city, now sitting primarily idle and resting on its historic legacy. The Kings have made it quite a home, however, at least based on Saturday’s crowd. More than 1,000 fans packed in, although I would have estimated closer to 1,700. I was also proud to see a throng of Lightning fans scattered throughout the arena, including several unfamiliar faces sporting Lightning gear.
The Kings just moved into the Gardens, home of the NBA Royals when Oscar Robertson played there.
The Kings entered the night 6-1 on the season, including a win over league stalwarts San Diego.
This was the second meeting between the Kings and Lightning. It would be a tremendous understatement to say the schedule has not been kind to the Lightning thus far. They’ve faced four of the best teams in the PASL already, with a trip to Detroit on the horizon to take on the Waza again. Detroit is the only team in the league to defeat Cincinnati so far this season.
The Lightning struck first and showed flashes of brilliance. Kolby Lacrone continues to look like a rising star, and veterans Adam Boyer and Lee Weyland are playing with a lot of passion. David Horne also got the start on the evening, giving Lightning fans a rare chance to see him in uniform.
Unfortunately, the Kings prevailed 11-9 over the Lightning in a hard-fought game.
The Lightning are back in action this Friday hosting a US Open Cup match against AAFC from Indianapolis. Afterwards, the Lightning travel to Detroit to take on the Waza. Hopefully a win this weekend will boost confidence ahead of the road trip to Michigan.