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What makes the Louisville City-Indy Eleven rivalry special

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/01/24, 11:30AM EDT


The USL Championship’s fiercest rivalry will feature on CBS on April 6 at 4 p.m. ET

On Saturday, April 6, the United Soccer League will experience a groundbreaking moment: the first network television broadcast in its history.

The broadcast, kicking off at 4 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network – that’s big CBS – will showcase the best of the USL to its biggest audience ever, and it’s no coincidence that this historic moment will feature the special rivalry between Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven. 

Since Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC first met in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2015, the rivalry between the two clubs has become the stuff of legend.

Let’s dig into why this is a rivalry, nicknamed the "LIPAFC," that rises above the rest.

What’s THE "LIPAFC"?

The Louisville–Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest – to give it its full name – was the brainchild of two of the main supporters’ groups of each club – Louisville’s Lou Coopers and Indy’s Brickyard Battalion.

It was first played when the teams were in different leagues – Indy kicked off in 2014 in the North American Soccer League, while LouCity joined the USL Championship in 2015 – but quickly took old thanks to our old friend the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. LouCity drew first blood with a 2-0 win in extra time in 2015, and Indy hit back a year later with a 2-1 victory.

When Indy joined the USL Championship in 2018, however, the LIPAFC became a fixture on the calendar. The sides have now played 21 times across regular season, playoffs and Open Cup, with LouCity holding 10 wins, Indy five with six draws. LouCity currently holds the LIPAFC trophy after sweeping last year’s series, wresting control back from Indy, which had won it in both 2021 and 2022.

Their Most Memorable Meeting

There are some great candidates – the inaugural meeting was settled with two LouCity goals after the 115th minute in 2015’s Open Cup, and the sides played a thrilling 3-3 draw at the start of the 2021 season – but it’s been hard to top the highest-stakes game the sides have played to date.

Indy hosted LouCity in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs, and they produced one of the best games in the league’s postseason history. Check out the highlights below.

Crossing the Divide

Five players have suited up for both Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven in the USL Championship over the years, including one current player in each squad. LouCity’s Dylan Mares and Indy’s Tyler Gibson will have the chance to put one over their former club when the day comes.

Bringing a Crowd

The LIPAFC witnessed its highest attendance in series history when the sides met last July at Lynn Family Stadium. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

The most recent edition of the LIPAFC at Louisville City FC’s Lynn Family Stadium also drew the highest attendance in the series’ history. A packed house of 13,248 fans were on hand as LouCity took a 2-0 victory behind goals from Elijah Wynder and Cameron Lancaster.

We could see a new high set this time around, but moving into the future Indy will have eyes on breaking that mark. With LouCity now in its fifth season at the venue that raised the bar for stadiums across the USL, Indy last year broken ground on a new 20,000-capacity venue at Eleven Park that is anticipated to open in 2025 and will become another of the league’s flagship venues.

Indy Eleven broke ground last year on its permanent home, a 20,000-capacity venue that will be part of mixed-use riverfront development Eleven Park, set to open in 2025.

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