Loudoun United celebrated their first home game by scoring the last goal in the 93rd minute of a wild 3-3 finish against Bethlehem Steel FC at Audi Field. D.C. United has been loaning players to Loudoun to round out their matchday roster for most of the season, the latest one being defender Chris Odoi-Atsem. First reported by Steven Goff, Odoi-Atsem will presumably see some time, his first competitive minutes in 15 months following a Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis. Odoi-Atsem received treatment for it and is now all clear, and is on the gameday roster for Loudoun (apparently wearing number 31 if you’re keeping score).
How much time Odoi-Atsem experiences remains to be seen, though of note that after tonight’s game against the Charlotte Independence, Loudoun’s next home game is Sunday, May 19 at Audi Field, 30 minutes from Odoi-Atsem’s Dematha high school. For narrative’s sake, put some money on him seeing some time then. Perhaps more, as Odoi-Atsem is the only player loaned to Loudoun tonight.
Key player: Connor Presley
The midfielder looked good last week at home with a nice stretch of possession that led to his first assist with the ponies. The 21-year-old has good speed and workrate, and will be using it down the right side facing former New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake veteran Abdoulie Mansally and Andrew Gutman, recent Hermann Trophy award winner as top College player, who spurned the Chicago Fire over the winter to sign with Celtic FC in Scotland. Presley (and presumably Jack Villatoro) will be the matchup to watch.
Location: Sportsplex at Matthews (Matthews, NC)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: While Odoi-Atsem comes down from D.C., in essence he is a numeric replacement; midfielder Jack-Jean Baptiste was called into the Honduras national team for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The Catrachos are in Group C (D.C.’s Chris Durkin and the United States are in Group D). Sandor Bustamante, who had been out due to injury and on the bench the last couple of weeks, should take Baptiste’s place in the starting lineup.
Starters: Calle Brown; Villatoro, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Bustamante, Noah Pilato; Presley, Orlando Sinclair, Andrew Lubahn; Kyle Murphy
Bench: Colin Miller, Alexxon Saravia, Odoi-Atsem, Milton Campos, Shinya Kadono, Brennan Conger
Key Charlotte player: Dominic Oduro
The Independence have 6 points, the same as Loudoun, albeit in two more games, and have given up 17 goals, 4th worst in the USL (by comparison Loudoun has allowed 10). Charlotte’s offense has yet to kickstart, with 10 goals in 9 games, and lining up in a 4-4-1-1 with Oduro up top, are counting on his speed to free some chances up. Given Michee Ngalina’s brace for Bethlehem against Loudoun’s slower center backs, Oduro may be ready to break out today for the Queen City.
Referee: JC Griggs
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?: Totally Cannon, Aslin Beer Company. I babbled on about sours last week and most of it still holds, even for this raspberry, hazelnut and chocolate beauty, a collaboration with Hidden Springs Ale Works, who are also partly responsible for one of the more hilariously named, audacious and surprisingly drinkable sours I can recall having.
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