Loudoun United (and to some extension D.C. United’s kids) had an entertaining mini-road trip last week, defeating Swope Park 3-2 Wednesday before dropping a 2-1 game to two-time defending USL Champions Louisville last Saturday, where goalkeeper Calle Brown suffered a concussion in the first 25 minutes of that game, and seeing the starts and/or debuts of several players on the team to boot.
How many? Well, new Coach (and former D.C. United Academy Director) Ryan Martin gave first minutes and/or starts to two Academy fullbacks in Nelson Martinez and Adam Lundegard, and in the Louisville game, had a central midfield of Moses Nyeman and Bryang Kayo. And Colin Miller got his first pro minutes as Brown’s backup. While the need to give minutes to these players is necessary, it doesn’t get any easier with today’s opponent, an Indy Eleven side in the middle of a packed group where four points separates 2nd from 7th place.
Key player: Orlando Sinclair
Loudoun is potentially missing a little speed today; Griffin Yow and Antonio Bustamante started in both Loudoun’s games last week and D.C.’s Open Cup win over the Philadelphia Union Wednesday, Bustamante started and went 73 minutes (Yow went 47 as a substitute). While they are in the 23-man gameday pool today, presumably Ben Olsen keeps them around for next week’s game with New York City FC, which would bump Sinclair up in the rotation. If a 4-4-1-1 is employed it gives Sinclair a chance to move around and create chances with Kyle Murphy (which he did a bit in the 4-2-3-1 earlier in the season), while giving Kayo and Nyeman more minutes centrally again, should Martin go that route.
Location: Audi Field (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Brown practiced this week with headgear, but appears to not have been cleared, so Earl Edwards Jr. comes down from D.C.
Starters: Edwards; Lundegard, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Nyeman, Kayo; Connor Presley, Sinclair, Theodore Ku-DiPietro; Murphy
Bench: Colin Miller, Martinez, Noah Pilato, Jack-Jean Baptiste, Shinya Kadono, Omar Milton Campos, Andrew Lubahn
Key Hartford player: Dane Kelly
Yes, THAT Dane Kelly of a cup of coffee in D.C.’s 2018 season in a friendly, returns to Audi Field for the first time. Kelly (and Tyler Pasher) are tied for the team lead with four goals each (the same as Murphy), but one is a Canadian outside midfielder and the other has scored the most goals in USL Championship history, I’ll leave it to you to determine who is who. Nevertheless, Hawkins and Verfurth will need to be in sync tonight, facing a red hot Indy team who is unbeaten in their last six.
Referee: Thomas Snyder
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?: Water from the press box, probably the same stuff Jason pines for a sponsorship deal from.
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