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Loudoun United 2019 USL Championship (re)preview

Now that Loudoun is close to officially being home, let’s catch up to where they are.

Courtesy Loudoun United FC

So if you’re a D.C. United fan, you may or may not know that they have a USL Championship side in Virginia called Loudoun United FC. Like D.C. United, Loudoun has played most of their games on the road, with an occasional home date at Audi Field.

So with Loudoun about to occupy their home in Leesburg (titled Segra Field) and the D.C./Loudoun training facility underway for development, we figured we’d take a look at where Loudoun is and where they’ve come from since the start of the season. If you want, feel free to use the actual beginning of the season preview I wrote back in March as a guardo camino of sorts.

So, Richie Williams left in May? Who’s the coach?

Ryan Martin, who coached D.C.’s U-17 team and served as the Academy Director. He saw guys like Griffin Yow play in the Academy. Yow played in Loudoun, scored a goal on March 16, and signed with D.C. as a homegrown player on March 19.

Wow that’s pretty good. So, Loudoun has playing a lot of Academy kids, right?

They appear to have been under Martin. Put it another way, D.C.’s Academy put the number 19 out on Instagram recently. They may be claiming kids who have appeared in the 18 for Loudoun in a couple of those, but just taking the 19 at face value, Martin has given six of those 19 their first pro minutes as subs or starters, and he’s been there just two months.

Have the kids looked good?

It sort of depends on the player. When D.C. played Louisville City (the two-time defending champs), early in Martin’s tenure, I noticed that the Louisville gave Loudoun three guys some space so as to avoid getting burned: Yow, Bryang Kayo and Moses Nyeman. The first two are with the United States U-17 team right now, the third is 15 and has been getting minutes with Loudoun recently.

Is the team good?

They’re sort of getting there. Having a coach leave a couple months in the season who seemed like more of a caretaker concept than anything else was weird, but Martin has given the players optimism, mixed his Academy kids in with younger pros with potential (like Alexis Cerritos and Christian Sorto) while maintaining a good balance with the late 20s players like Kyle Murphy and Carlos Alvarez.

So could they make a run like D.C. did at Audi Field last year?

It’s possible. Loudoun are in 14th place and need to be in the first 10 of the 18 team East. So it’s crowded, but they have games in hand on everyone else, and multiple games on almost everyone in the East except for two teams; the tenth place team, St. Louis FC is six points ahead of Loudoun, and Loudoun has two games in hand on them. If they can find their footing at home early, it’s feasible.

I asked this before but, who should I expect to see start every week?

When I did this before 3 of the 11 starters I picked aren’t with the club anymore, you think I’m going down that road again? Yes? OK. Well, Martin employs a 4-2-3-1 in line with the organization. ^ are the kids, * are the loanees. Should be a heckuva lot closer than March’s, that’s for sure: