Louisville City FC squares off against Loudoun United Sunday night at Audi Field in Washington DC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Loudoun United (4-8-4, 14th East) is not to be taken lightly, especially given Louisville City's need for three points this weekend.
"These MLS-2 teams, as we saw last week, very difficult to determine who you're gonna get on any given day," Louisville City coach John Hackworth said. "Loudoun specifically is playing good soccer, similar to what Bethlehem Steel did, and they have some quality players.
"Interestingly enough, D.C. United cut a player from their roster. He's played with Loudoun all year long. I think that Loudoun's already signed him and we just haven't seen that, so we'll see that player, but that kind of just gives you an example of some of the movement that can happen between a first team and their reserve team. In particular, when those two teams are playing in two different leagues with two different sets of rules, some of that's hard to really tell before we get to a Saturday, or we get to tomorrow afternoon when we hear their 23-man roster for Sunday."
Loudoun lost its last two matches, but Hackworth and his assistants Danny Cruz and Scott Budnick have been studying how Loudoun is improving.
"No, I try to look more at the way that they're playing, so that we can say, 'Okay this is the style, this is the formation, this is their principles,' and that has been pretty consistent," Hackworth said. "And they've been pretty good in the last month at doing that. They've also had a lot of changes like I referred to, so I think that is difficult for them and their staff to probably try to juggle, especially in our league when their last game was against Indy Eleven, and Indy's one of the better team's in our league right now. When you look at that game, it wasn't as lopsided as it may appear, the final scoreline."
Louisville City (8-6-6, 7th East) is working to improve its position in the East. Hackworth said most of their focus this week is on how they are playing.
"Generally we do both. I would say this week, in particular, we have concentrated on us, because when you have the kind of performance that we had last Saturday, full credit to Bethlehem Steel, but it was our problem," Hackworth said. "We're the ones that didn't finish those chances. We created plenty of them, and it was us. So we're trying to concentrate on us, trying to work on our consistency. Obviously, we're working on our finishing in every possible way we can, trying to reiterate the fact that we can't give up a goal. I think our start has been questionable for us, because we haven't really gotten into a game until an opponent really puts us under pressure or scores that goal, and that to me is the biggest issue we have to address, and that's for us to address. So, long-winded answer, yes, we're concentrating on us."
Louisville City and Loudoun United kick off at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WBKI in Louisville and streamed on ESPN+. The radio broadcast is on 840 WHAS.