Meeting for the fourth time across all competitions in the 2018 season, Louisville City FC hosts Indy Eleven in the First Round of the USL Playoffs with 'win or stay home' stakes on the line.
City got the better of Indy Eleven in their third meeting last Saturday, closing out the regular season with a sixth straight win in total after a 1-0 win against the "Boys in Blue".
Ending the night in 5th place, Indy then sunk to the 7th seed ahead of Saturday's playoff race after wins by Bethlehem Steel FC and New York Red Bulls II on the following Sunday.
When & Where
The match is set to take place on Saturday, October 20 at Slugger Field with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
TV: WBNA TV-21
RADIO: 790 WKRD
Where They Stand
#2 Louisville City FC:
18-6-9, 66 points - 2nd in EC
#7 Indy Eleven:
12-11-10, 49 points - 7th in EC
Last Time Out
A chilly night in Louisville saw Louisville City FC host fellow playoff team Indy Eleven in front of a packed house of just over 10,500 fans at Slugger Field.
With captain Paolo DelPiccolo back in the line-up after missing out on Tuesday’s match due to yellow card accumulation, coach John Hackworth made no other changes to his starting XI.
Indy was closest to opening the scoring from a set-piece in the 17th minute, but City midfielder Niall McCabe was alert to the threat and produced a spectacular goalline clearance to preserve the clean sheet at that point.
The match turned in City’s favor when, in the 33rd minute, forward Ilija Ilic was clipped in the box and the hosts were awarded a penalty. Stepping up to take, forward Cameron Lancaster—who had just broken the all-time USL single-season goalscoring record on Tuesday—buried the effort to put City ahead.
That would be the lone action of the rest of the first half as LouCity took a narrow advantage into the break, up 1-0.
Into the second half, Hack opted to replace Cameron Lancaster and Ilija Ilic with Luke Spencer and Magnus Rasmussen, who made his return to the pitch for the first time since August 10 against New York Red Bulls II.
Pushing Indy until the end, LouCity wrapped up the 2018 regular season with another home win to move to 66 points, again beating their best total in its four-year history.
Coach John Hackworth's pre-IND assessment
On expecting any new challenges from Indy on Saturday:
“Look, they’re going to maybe change up their personnel… they might change up their formation. I would expect that they’re doing the same thing that we’re doing. They’re looking at game film and they’re critiquing it and they’re trying to say ‘okay, this is an area where we think we can get at Louisville’. I don’t know exactly, but I’m expecting changes and we’ve gone through a number of different scenarios where we potentially could be doing the exact same thing in trying to be critical of ourselves where if we were in their shoes, we’d say ‘hey, attack us in this way’.”
On any potential changes for City this weekend:
“Yeah, but I think I would give away some things if I said those (laughs). It comes down to this: there is room for improvement for both teams. Both teams did things against each other last Saturday and didn’t execute and it really comes down to execution now and who can do it more. There were moments for us, and a good example is us hitting the post three times and we need to finish those. We had too many chances and too many looks where we didn’t get on the scoreboard from the run of play and we think that’s an area where we can do a much better job in.”
On sacrificing style for the result:
“Yes, no question. I think you’ll see a little bit of that reflected in our play. At the same time, we are what we are and we’ve been in a good run of form because we’ve been playing a certain style and because we practice it and because we all believe it. We’re going to have to be careful about what we show them and be careful about maybe going for some style points versus just the pure desire to say ‘hey, we’ve got to win this game’.
On Cameron Lancaster showing up on Saturday:
“I think you put it best that he’s part of a team that is firing on all cylinders right now. Cam has a job to do but it’s not only his job to put the ball in the back of the net. He’s been the best in the league at that, no question, and we hope he does that on Saturday but he just does the job of being dangerous and pulling opponents out of position. There are other guys on our team that are willing to step up and have the same kind of quality to find the back of the net.”
KY Lottery Kees to the Game
It's playoff time in the City and Indy is the first test in the way of another Cup run for Los Morados. Take a look at the KEES to the Game ahead of another blistering playoff battle: