Louisville City got a 35’ goal by Paco Craig and a 79’ goal by Napo Matsoso to take a two-goal lead, but Tampa Bay scored a pair of goals in the final few minutes to scratch out a draw in front of a season-record crowd of 10,620 fans at Slugger Field Saturday night.
“To be fair, I need to make sure I go back and look at tape and look at things more thoroughly," LouCity coach John Hackworth said. "In general, we did what we needed to do to get the two-goal lead but it wasn't necessarily that we were playing our best soccer on the night. We can play much better and we will have to going forward. I think we know that we’re as good as anybody, but we don’t want to be as good as anybody, we want to make sure we beat everybody."
Louisville City holds itself to a very high standard. Hackworth has said for months that he believes his team can play with anyone in the league, and the last nine matches have proven that. The Boys in Purple haven't lost since July 28 and have won six of the last nine matches.
That high standard is why the locker room wasn't satisfied with a single point in a match where they led by a pair of goals with less than 10 minutes left.
“I’m sure when you guys talk to the players they’ll be as frustrated as I am," Hackworth said. "It is not just me, or just our staff, this is a veteran team, they know it just as much as we do. I probably didn’t even need to say it to them in there. They’re a good team this time of year and that’s a locker room filled with winners. I expect us to have a good response to this.”
By gaining a point Saturday night, LouCity clinched a spot in the USL Championship Playoffs. With four matches left in the regular season, it is still statistically possible for Louisville City to finish as high as the No. 1 seed and as low as the No. 10 seed in the East. LouCity is currently sixth in the East.
“We just have to put this behind us," Hackworth said. "We have to learn from these mistakes. I always think you learn more from the hard mistakes than the easy ones so this one is going to hurt for a couple of days, we just need to accept responsibility for it. Saint Louis is a team that is definitely on the opposite spectrum right now and they are going to come with everything they have. Being on the road, difficult surface, it’ll be a challenge.”
35’ – LOU – Paco Craig (Oscar Jimenez)
79’ – LOU – Napo Matsoso
87’ – TBR – Sebastian Guenzatti
89’ – TBR – Lucky Mkosana