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It's a crucial Eastern Conference battle as Louisville City FC takes on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Saturday night at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. The game will be broadcast locally on WBKI-CW at 7 p.m.
LouCity, 7th in the East at 12-7-7, is four points behind Pittsburgh (13-4-8, 5th) in the Eastern Conference table. While both teams are highly likely to make the 10-team playoff field, both clubs are shooting for one of the automatic bye slots in the East given to the top six teams. Beyond that, the top four seeds in the East not only get a bye but they are also guaranteed to host a playoff game.
"This is a six-point game," LouCity coach John Hackworth said. "When another team is so close to you in the table and you are playing this late in the season, a win not only means three points for you, but also three points that they don't get."
The Riverhounds have been tremendous at home this season, going 8-0-5. Pittsburgh coach Bob Lilley is known for his tough, defensive-minded teams.
"We know that Pittsburgh has quality players and play extremely hard," Hackworth said. "We know it is going to be a fight Saturday night."
For Louisville City, the lineup has shifted quite a bit. Midfielder Speedy Williams and defender Shaun Francis were called up to the Jamaican National Team, center back Paco Craig will miss Saturday night's match with the Yellow Card accumulation, and several players are recovering from injuries. Creative scorer Magnus Rasmussen is back in the lineup after missing last week due to Yellow Card accumulation.
Louisville City has been resilient this season. The club battled through a stretch of injuries and call-ups earlier this season and emerged as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference during the last five games. LouCity has won 13 of a possible 15 points in its last five matches, leading the league during that stretch.