Loudoun United came off what could have been posited as their best performance in a 4-0 win over North Carolina FC by getting throttled on the road to Hartford Athletic FC 5-1. Put another way, Hartford has the same number of wins as Loudoun does (6), but Hartford has a -28 goal differential this season, and that includes winning both games with Loudoun, outscoring them by 5 in the process.
At least Loudoun gets a manageable opponent this week? I mean, they tied Memphis in their March matchup, which accounted for Loudoun’s first goal (Griffin Yow) and point in team history, so that’s something. Moreover, Memphis leads Loudoun by a point in the standings, Loudoun’s next opponents are at Bethlehem Steel (3 points behind) and versus Swope Park Rangers (8 ahead) before playing the 3rd, 4th and 5th place teams in the East, so points tonight are crucial.
Key player: Connor Presley
Memphis will be missing former D.C. United player Marc Burch and Wesley Charpie due to yellow card accumulation suspensions, which amounts to half of their backline. It remains to be seen how Memphis will accommodate those, expect Ewan Grandison or Morgan Hackworth next to Memphis center back (and former D.C. draft pick) Liam Doyle, with the other occupying left back. That’s where Presley’s form of late should help.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Getting this out of the way, a Loudoun spokesperson hasn’t responded to say if Yamil Asad is playing tonight or not (though it’s not outside the realm of possibility). Forward Alioune Ndour has been added to the 23-man roster so he could appear tonight. Past the five goals in nine games with Sogndal (in Norway’s second division) not much is personally known about him. Griffin Yow is dealing with injury and would likely be out tonight, Earl Edwards Jr. could get a go tonight after missing last Saturday’s games, and I would imagine Gordon Wild and Antonio Bustamante to join him. Jeremy Garay will miss tonight due to a red card last week, but Peabo Doue played his first minutes in several weeks on Saturday and could feature tonight as Academy player Jacob Greene is with the Academy.
Starters: Edwards; Presley, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Doue; Moses Nyeman, Antonio Bustamante; Carlos Alvarez, Orlando Sinclair, Wild; Elvis Amoh
Bench: Calle Brown, Shane Wiedt, Robbie Dambrot, Andrew Lubahn, John Murphy, Christian Sorto, Kyle Murphy
Key Memphis player: Cam Lindley
Brandon Allen would be a perfectly logical choice, given his two goals against Swope Park earned him a Team of the Week nod. But I’ll go with Lindley’s two assists, which would allow him to find Allen and Marcus Epps for scoring chances. Memphis doesn’t score much (they are the lowest scoring bunch in the East), so hopefully there’s enough to focus on.
Referee: JJ Bilinski
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 probably? Maybe a coffee or something, with the cooler temps from the last couple days as I duck errand shots on the North end.
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