Last Saturday’s win over Birmingham Legion FC was a night to remember, a game filled with memories for both players and fans as Riverhounds SC downed the No. 10 seed for its first-ever playoff win at Highmark Stadium.
But while the 7-0 victory will go down as one of the greatest moments in Hounds playoff history, the players are looking ahead to the next task.
For a team with championship aspirations, living in the past cannot be a formula for future success. As much as the Hounds enjoyed the win, short memories and a renewed focus on their upcoming showdown with Louisville City FC this Saturday are all that matters right now.
“You just try to enjoy that Saturday night, but as soon as you wake up on Sunday you’re starting to prepare for the next week,” goalkeeper Kyle Morton said. “The more time you give yourself to prepare, the better off you’re going to be. So we just go about our business like any other week, Monday and Tuesday just start preparing for Saturday.”
Morton had arguably the best seat in the house last Saturday against Birmingham, looking out from his goal toward the visitors end of the stadium as the Hounds exploded for a five-goal first half in front of the Steel Army supporters section.
"The Steel Army is fantastic, and with the rain and everything it was cool to see everyone had stayed and were still extremely loud," Morton said. "Fantastic atmosphere, and I hope we get the same thing on Saturday."
As Pittsburgh progresses further through the postseason, the games get exponentially harder, and Saturday’s game against the two-time defending champions will no doubt test the Hounds.
Luckily, for that energy and atmosphere is one of the few things they can count on not changing over the course of one game.
“I think that’s the best part of where we’re at right now, to know that it’s not us facing other teams, they have to come here and face us, in our house,” defender Dani Rovira said. “I think that’s a huge boost to any team, to know they’re at home and it’s not going to be easy for them. Not just with us on the field, but with the thousands of fans that we have here.”
Pittsburgh had homefield advantage the last time these two squads faced off, a 0-0 draw back on Sept. 7 that saw Louisville stop all four Hounds shots on target.
The Black and Gold know that the home crowd alone will not be enough. For as impressive as the win over Birmingham was, Pittsburgh will need an even better effort if they want to come away with another victory against Louisville.
“They’re obviously a big team for the whole league, they have a name and everything, but there’s a reason we ended up first overall too,” Rovira said. “We’ve shown in the past couple months what we’re capable of, so it’s going to be a really good game. Every playoff game kind of has its own thing to it, a challenge for both teams, so we’re looking forward to that. Working through it, and not worrying about them, but about us. Keep rolling and doing what we’re doing.”