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LouCity preps for different North Carolina challenge

By LouCity, 08/20/19, 11:00AM EDT

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Back home after winning its third-straight match Saturday, Louisville City hosts North Carolina FC Saturday afternoon at Slugger Field. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.

Louisville City started this recent run with a 1-0 win at Charlotte Independence on Aug. 3. Then LouCity returned home to beat Atlanta United 2 in a 5-1 goal-fest at Slugger Field. On Saturday, LouCity got an 88th-minute goal by George Davis IV to beat Charleston Battery in Charleston.

“We’re going to keep to what we are doing and then try to improve as well,” Louisville City coach John Hackworth said. “We feel good about Saturday night, but we know there are lots of areas that we have to improve if we are going to be successful in the games coming up next.”

Louisville City’s next six games include five teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference table. The top 10 teams in each conference make the USL Championship Playoffs with the top six teams getting a first-round bye. LouCity is currently seventh in the East, two points behind sixth-place Pittsburgh and four points behind fifth-place North Carolina FC.

“The intensity has been good and I feel like we are more organized defensively,” forward Sunny Jane said. “We always talk about working for each other and we are doing that really well. We just have to keep it rolling, keep doing the same work we have been doing.”

LouCity lost to North Carolina in the opening match of the season. In that match, North Carolina sat back and scored on counter-attacks.

“I think Carolina has changed some,” Hackworth said. “They are more of a possession team than we played them the first time. I think what you do in a game is you try to do something that works against your opponent, and sitting in really worked well for them in that match. I know Dave Sarachan well and I know what he was looking for then, but I think he knows his team much better now.”

Hackworth and Sarachan both worked for the United States Men’s Soccer Team and have known each other for decades. Hackworth has been watching North Carolina closely in recent weeks.

“They are in great form,” Hackworth said. “They beat Pittsburgh 5-nothing on Saturday night. That speaks volumes about what they are right now.”

North Carolina FC has won three of its last four matches including the 5-0 win over Pittsburgh and a 2-1 win over Memphis 901 FC, where Hackworth’s son plays. So will there be any communication shared this week between old friends?

“It’s radio silence this week, for sure,” Hackworth said. “I would say we are friends before we are coaching colleagues so if either one of us calls then I’m sure the other will pick up the phone.”

Louisville City and North Carolina kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on WDRB TV locally and streamed on ESPN+. The radio broadcast will be on 840 WHAS.