When you’re a USL franchise owned and operated by a MLS team you inherently defer to the needs of the parent club, and with D.C. United being down several due to injuries, this is the first time that Loudoun United will essentially be fending for themselves in the USL Championship campaign.
Key player: Earl Edwards Jr.
Two weeks ago, Edwards joined homegrown players Donovan Pines, Antonio Bustamante and Griffin Yow, and draft pick Akeem Ward as the quintet were all on loan from D.C. With Bustamante out to injury and the homegrowns with the first team tonight against the Colorado Rapids (D.C.’s injuries and roster numbers have necessitated their presence), Edwards will need to keep things steady in back. Starting in place of Calle Brown against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Edwards appeared more confident in the scoreless draw in Tampa, and will likely be called upon for even more acumen.
Location: TD Place Stadium (Ottawa, Canada)
Kickoff time: 2:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: D.C.’s retaining of their loanees translates to increased playing time from internationals Orlando Sinclair and Jack-Jean Baptiste, with Ariel Fantoni presumably seeing his debut. Loudoun has added some Academy players to the gameday roster; specifically, defenders Justus Akinlosotu, Jack Villatoro, midfielders Nelson Martinez and Brennan Conger, and forward Kyle Davis. Of the quintet, Villatoro and Martinez did see some time on the field in Loudoun’s preseason. However, if it were me: Edwards; Andrew Lubahn, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Noah Pilato, Sandor Bustamante; Connor Presley, Fantoni, Shinya Kadono; Kyle Murphy
Bench: Brown, Alexxon Saravia, Baptiste, Elian Nalerio, Sinclair
Key Ottawa player: Kevin Oliveira
Ottawa has 1 in each column after 3 games and while they have 4 points, their goal differential is the same as Loudoun’s, and in between Ottawa and Loudoun, the two lowest scoring, lowest shooting squads in the USL Championship face off against each other. A couple of familiar names may be familiar to D.C. fans (former players Nana Attakora and Cristiano Francois are on the Fury roster), but Oliveira, a former 20 Under 20 Honoree for the USL when he was with Swope Park Rangers, lines up as the Center Forward and is the expected hub of scoring for the team, who are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 against Loudoun.
Referee: Uh...is the answer Jesus? The listing on the PRO website has it as TBD as of this writing (Friday night) so you may know when we do.
Available streaming: ESPN+
What are you drinking?: Water I think? This game overlaps with my kid’s nap window so if you want to get a sassy response, ask here and I’ll drop it in the first team gamer.
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