Loudoun United FC saw its first ever game last week on the road in Tennessee against a tough opponent in Nashville SC. While they looked shaky at times, the 2-0 defeat could be seen as good in the sense that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The team was playing its first minutes of consequence, they were doing so with a makeshift roster of sorts, the international signings the team made were not even in America at that point, and coach Richie Williams dressing 17. So, now that some of them are here, they go back to Tennessee, this time to another major city to play Memphis 901 FC, owned by current Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Location: Autozone Park (Memphis, Tennessee)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Last week, Williams stuck mostly with those who played in Loudoun’s two scrimmages, combined with D.C. United loanees Donovan Pines, Akeem Ward and Antonio Bustamante, so the results were a little anti-tactical in the first half before some offense came on in the second.
Now that the boys are getting comfortable with one another, I’d imagine whatever changes get made are done up front: Calle Brown; Ward, Pines, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Sandor Bustamante, Antonio Bustamante; Connor Presley, Shinya Kadono (in for Andrew Lubahn for offensive flexibility/chance creation), Elian Nalerio; Kyle Murphy
Bench: Colin Miller, Allexon Saravia, Collin Verfurth, Andrew Lubahn, Ariel Fantoni, Griffin Yow, Orlando Sinclair
Key Memphis player: Adam Najem
Memphis is an inaugural side as well, and hosted the Tampa Bay Rowdies last week in their first game, losing 1-0. They play a 4-2-3-1 as does Loudoun and like Loudoun, their forward (Chicago Fire loanee Elliot Collier) didn’t have that much to do last week either. So that left Najem and Trinidad and Tobago international Duane Muckette trying to figure out things to do. They had possession but not a lot of shots. Najem has more experience in America so I would imagine he gets leaned on a little while Muckette gets his feet wet. Of note, former D.C. player Marc Burch signed with Memphis in the offseason, plays center-back and is team captain. I’ll mention here Memphis won 1 of 3 aerials on the night, combined with Loudoun’s trees in back (the 6’5” Pines and 6’3” Hawkins alongside the 6’0” Murphy), and corners could prove to be a net positive for the good guys.
Referee: Matt Franz
Available streaming: ESPN+
What are you drinking?: Aslin Beer Company Familiarity Breeds Content. Aslin’s IPA game is strong and their barrel-aged game is improving, as is their sour game. Sours are Micheladas for white people, and a dessert sour ale with Blackberry, Lime, Vanilla and milk sugar ahead of a future beach trip is right up my alley.
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