It’s been a week since Loudoun United went to New Jersey with 16 guys, facing the then-Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls II and won 3-1 behind some superb goalkeeping by Calle Brown and nice play from Costa Rica international Orlando Sinclair to open his USL account. So now D.C. United’s affiliate goes back on the road to face a Birmingham Legion side that has a few familiar names on and off field to D.C. United and MLS nerds alike.
Key player: Orlando Sinclair
In his first North American start last week, the forward scored a goal 24 hours after turning 19, but also did a good job picking his runs, has some deceptive speed and can win more than his expected number of balls. On a Birmingham side with 23-year-old Mathieu Laurent and 24-year-old former Montreal Impact player Kyle Fisher as the center backs, Sinclair’s runs and shots could potentially made the difference over a Legion side who has yet to score on their home field.
Location: BBVA Compass Field (Birmingham, Alabama)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Loanee Akeem Ward turned in an assist and a lot of defensive activity to earn a USL Team of the Week performance last week. That’s good! Ward dressed for D.C. the next day and traveled with the team to their games with the Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United FC. That’s bad! Barring any last minutes loans or signings of field players, expect another 16 or 17 man squad tonight.
Starters: Earl Edwards Jr.; Alexxon Saravia, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Noah Pilato, Jack-Jean Baptiste; Connor Presley, Andrew Lubahn, Shinya Kadono; Kyle Murphy
Bench: Calle Brown, Jack Villatoro, Sandor Bustamante, Milton Campos, Elian Nalerio
Key Birmingham player: Chandler Hoffman
The expansion Legion have former New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps as their President and General Manager, former D.C. executive Doug Hicks as Executive Vice-President, and his former co-worker/Heaps’ former assistant/former D.C. coach Tom Soehn in the front office. MLS vets like Eric Avila and Daigo Kobayashi feature, but Hoffman is the closest thing to a face of the team, lining up as the sole forward in a 4-2-3-1. The former Philadelphia Union draft pick last played in MLS in 2015 but has found form in the USL, scoring 42 goals in 93 games in three years with Louisville and the Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake’s USL team). He’s scored 1 in Birmingham’s first five and his getting hot is presumably just a matter of time.
Referee: Sergii Demianchuk
Available streaming: ESPN+*
What are you drinking?: Hope, Ocelot Brewing Company. Before he became the founder of a pretty dang good brewery in Loudoun, Ocelot founder Adrian Widman worked at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He’s been releasing this beer in different forms most every April with various breweries in the area, this year’s version is done with Old Bust Head (past versions have been with Veil and Bluejacket) and uses Cashmere and Simcoe hops (past versions have been Galaxy forward). Widman and the beer were profiled at the end of 2017 but this holds up pretty well, as the beer does.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos consecutive wins!
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