Louisville City FC advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Saturday night. The Boys in Purple are hard at work preparing for a Saturday showdown with top-seeded Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
"I think they are in great form and particularly when you get a guy like Neco Brett, who is already a tremendous goal scorer, doing what he is doing, they are a dangerous team," Louisville City coach John Hackworth said. "There's a reason they won the Eastern Conference. Full credit to them. I think Bob Lilley does a great job with them and they have a really good roster. We are going to have our hands full to go up there and get a result."
Pittsburgh hasn't lost at Highmark Stadium this season and are unbeaten in their last 12 games. Louisville City has a nine-game unbeaten streak in the USL Playoffs, winning back-to-back USL Championship Titles in 2017 and 2018.
Hackworth said his group is preparing as if they will continue playing through the length of the playoffs.
"I think it is just the mindset of our group," Hackworth said. "I don't know our exact records through all the years of this club, but I know our expectation is that we will still be playing through the final. That's not to try to be cocky or over-confident, but it is just the way that we are thinking about it and it's the way that our players have expressed it to me since the day I got here. You have to be really careful not to take your opponent for granted, and that comes with a huge dose of humility, but at the same time you have to have the expectation that you are back our here next week getting back to work."
Hackworth said this week of training has been about improving. The team wasn't pleased with the way they played in the second half vs. Tampa despite getting the win.
"We played a really good first half against Tampa, but we felt like we let ourselves down a little bit and therefore we have some things we have to work on and improve," Hackworth said. "I think if we put together two halves like that first half, we give ourselves an excellent chance to be successful and that is what our goal is this week."
Louisville City and Pittsburgh kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. The game will be broadcast on WBKI locally and on ESPN+ nationwide. The game will be shown on YouTube TV internationally. The local radio broadcast is available on 840 WHAS.