After a remarkable run to the 2018 USL Cup title, Louisville City opens the 2019 home schedule as only back-to-back champion in modern USL history.
“We are very excited about our first home game,” Louisville City coach John Hackworth said. “It’ll be our first opportunity to play in Louisville since we won our championship here, and our first opportunity to play in Slugger since we won the Eastern Conference Championship. All of us are looking forward to that and we cannot wait to see our fans again.”
Saturday’s match against Hartford Athletic will be the first meeting between these two clubs. Louisville City is the most successful club in the USL Championship league and Hartford was founded eight months ago. Hartford Athletic was one of nine expansion teams that joined the USL Championship division following the 2018 season.
Like Louisville, Hartford has also been on the road for the first two weeks of the season. Hartford Athletic lost 2-0 at Atlanta United 2 on March 9 and then fell 2-1 vs. Charleston Battery last Saturday in Charleston, SC.
Louisville City opened its defense of the 2018 title on the road for the first two weeks of the season. Our Boys in Purple fell 4-1 to red-hot North Carolina in Game 1, but returned to work quickly the following week, correcting the issues that frustrated them in the season opener.
“The fact is we have to get better in both boxes," Hackworth said after the opener. "We were really good in between and we even dominated for stretches of that game, but we have to be better in both boxes."
And they were. In Game 2, Louisville City’s defense was much better and the club executed effectively in the boxes, holding Atlanta United 2 scoreless throughout the match and notching a late, go-ahead goal.
The goal came on a nifty move and cross by Brian Ownby that was headed into the net by reserve strike Abdou Thiam in the 72nd minute.
“That pass was exactly right. It was right on time for me,” Thiam said after the match. “The run and the pass came together.
“It was good for me to watch the first part of the game. It was good for me to see the chances that were there, and then when I got in I could take advantage of what I was watching during the first half.”
Now Louisville City returns to the friendly confines of Slugger Field for the first time this season. Saturday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The match will be televised by ESPN+ nationally and WBKI-CW in Louisville. The audio broadcast of the game will be on iHeartRadio.