Loudoun United’s season started in Tennessee, eventually found its way to Washington D.C. before wrapping up with their finale at their permanent Segra Field home tonight. D.C. United’s USL team plays the USL team of their longtime foe the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls II have been cited as a touchstone for the D.C. organization to emulate, and were also the source of Loudoun’s first ever win, a 3-1 victory in April. To put that game in perspective, of the 14 players Loudoun used, 4 are no longer with the club, and that excludes coach Richie Williams. Ryan Martin took the reins in June and after some up and down performances have the team humming, including three straight wins over playoff teams. They look to extend it to four today and end their eventful inaugural campaign on an up note.
Key player: Moses Nyeman
I was initially going to put Ali Ndour in here, given that he’s scored four goals in three starts since being acquired at the end of September, and the Senegal forward (who turns 22 next week) has notched them against talented defenses, and he’ll see another today as a newly minted Team of the Week honoree. Upon further review, I figure if it’s not Nelson Martinez it’s Nyeman, up against one of the more coherent challenges he’s faced as a young pro to date. Getting the ball out to the wings and/or through the middle to avoid the Red Bull press will be key to any type of success Ndour can (or can’t) bring.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Griffin Yow is with the United States U-17 team, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Donovan Pines and I believe Earl Edwards Jr. are with the first team, so Antonio Bustamante and Gordon Wild get today’s calls as D.C. loanees
Starters: Calle Brown; Hunter Gorskie, Collin Verfurth, Shane Wiedt, Rob Dambrot; Nyeman, Bustamante; Orlando Sinclair, Wild, Elvis Amoh; Ndour
Bench: Collin Miller, Allexon Saravia, Miguel Garduño, Nelson Martinez, John Murphy, Andrew Lubahn, Christian Sorto
Key Red Bulls player: Jared Stroud
The Baby Bulls started the season strong and as of late have faltered, with Wednesday’s loss against a ten-man Birmingham side extending their winless streak to five. While they have clinched a playoff spot they still have the chance to host a playoff game at their disposal with a win and some help. Stroud leads the team in goals (14) and his 89 created chances are tied for 2nd in the League, with teammate Chris Lema (94) leading everyone. Stroud played Wednesday and may be leaned upon (along with Mathias Jorgensen) to try and grab points tonight.
Referee: Eric Tattersall
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click here and subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: After a couple of hectic weeks, ‘press box’ water one more time!
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