As Loudoun United continue their prolonged road trip ahead of their first real home game in team history three weeks from Friday, they’ve had the luxury of having a little more time than usual to have time off and do things. Nobody, NOBODY has played fewer games than Loudoun, and they have at least two and as many as six(!) games in hand on those in front of them for a possible spot in the USL Championship playoffs. A win would put them in 12th, ahead of Bethlehem Steel FC on differential and four points behind the Charlotte Independence for the final playoff spot, with five games in hand. They have a busy schedule in front of them and it starts with a tough one tonight.
Key player: Christian Sorto
It was nice to see Sorto come on a couple of games ago, get a brace in a matter of minutes and earn player of the week honors all in his debut. His second game? While he created a chance, he completed 8 of 14 passes and lost 4 of 5 duels. He's going to need to be better to stay on the field, firm on the left side even with the (presumed) reintroduction of a USL vet, and provide another avenue of offense as he gets acclimated to the opposition up here.
Location: Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, NC)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: With another road game Saturday at Indy Eleven, Martin will have some rotation, along with introduction of some D.C. United loanees. Earl Edwards Jr., Akeem Ward and Antonio Bustamante did make the trip to North Cackalacky but will not be in the lineup tonight, with Saturday being the favored option.
Starters: Calle Brown; Allexon Saravia, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Nelson Martinez, Sandor Bustamante; Andrew Lubahn, Carlos Alvarez, Sorto; Kyle Murphy
Bench: Colin Miller, Connor Presley, Jacob Greene, Noah Pilato, Theodore Ku-DiPietro, Shinya Kadono, Orlando Sinclair
Key Hartford player: Marios Lomis
With former United States caretaker manager Dave Sarachan at the helm, NCFC find themselves in fourth and have been playing well, though a hiccup to Birmingham last Saturday was their first loss in more than two months, and they also are doing some rotation. Presumably against a weaker Loudoun side they may want to do the business early and Lomis helps them accomplish that. His six goals in 2019 are more than he scored in all of 2018 (five), and in half as many games to boot (23 vs. 11). Stop Lomis, and it’ll help Loudoun a bunch.
Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
Available streaming: ESPN3/ESPN+ (click here and subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Dogfish Head, In and of Itself. I’m in Delaware, and stopped at a bottle shop up the road, and ran across a release that I thought was brewery only. A wild ale aged on raspberries in red and white wine barrels, I figured I’d give it a shot, since Dogfish helped kick me into beer nerddom oh so long ago.
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