Louisville City FC is on a roll, winning four-straight matches and tallying 12 points as the playoff race heats up. Meanwhile, its rival to the north, Indy Eleven, has won four of its last five.
“They are a good team,” Hackworth said. “They have quality in their lineup, especially some of their attacking players who are having career kind of years. They also have a good defense and the way they play defensively is really tough to break down.”
Indy has only allowed 17 goals this season, three fewer than any other team in the league. Indy has the second-most Clean Sheets in the league with 10 on the season (three teams have 11). Louisville City has given up 29 goals and has six Clean Sheets.
“Their three center backs are all physical, tough and tenacious players,” Hackworth said. “Evan Newton is a strong goalkeeper. They are just a solid team all the way around.”
When a team is as strong on defense as Indy Eleven has been this season, what can Louisville City do to break them down?
“It means we need to be a little more sophisticated in our gameplan and how we are going to break them down,” Hackworth said. “We need to create opportunities for us to penetrate their backline.”
While the Top 10 teams in the Eastern Conference make the USL Championship Playoffs and neither LouCity or Indy are in danger of missing the mark, both are trying to secure a first-round bye given to the top six teams.
Indy Eleven is currently 4th with 46 points. Louisville City is currently seventh with 42 points. The top eight teams have separated themselves from the rest with Ottawa at 39 points and ninth-place Birmingham Legion sitting at 32 and 10th-place Charleston Battery at 30.
Hackworth said his team is focused on the task at hand and not the standings.
“It’s the same mantra we have said every week,” Hackworth explained. “We are going to try to get better by focusing on the details. We reviewed North Carolina Monday morning and found areas where we knew we needed to do a better job. We are watching what Indy did over the weekend and trying to figure out ways we can get at them a little bit.”
Both teams will be working with a short week this week. Hackworth and the team hit the training grounds Monday morning to start their prep for Friday night’s match.
“It just changes our periodization as we build in this short week,” Hackworth said. “It changes our tactical periodization as well as our physical periodization.”
Louisville City and Indy Eleven kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night. The game will be televised on MyTV-58 locally and streamed on ESPN+. The radio broadcast will be on 840 WHAS.