Loudoun United heads into the home stretch of their inaugural season in the USL Championship having seen a lot of things; coaching turnover, a revolving door of players, not to mention playing in the stadium of their parent club D.C. United before taking over a stadium of their own last month. And while they sit in 16th of the 18 team Eastern Conference, tonight’s opponent (Swope Park Rangers) is in that 18th spot. Moreover, neither team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention yet! That said, Loudoun’s game tonight is the first of 5 games in 14 days. While all of the games are at home, Loudoun’s going to need to get 3 points in most of them to even get close to the red line, and tonight would be a good start.
Key player: Gordon Wild
With his goal last week, Wild has now scored 5 goals for Loudoun since joining D.C. United two months ago. By comparison, only one other player (Kyle Murphy) has scored more than 3. Speaking of 3, that’s the number of assists Wild has added for Loudoun, tied for first with three other players, including Murphy. With the game congestion coming up, he’s prime to see some time tonight.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: With D.C. youngsters Moses Nyeman, Adam Lundegard, Jacob Greene and Jeremy Garay at the United States’ U-16 training camp until Monday, I’d presume any/all of them are going to be held until Saturday against Nashville. The team also misses out on Carlos Alvarez, out for a red card he got in last Wednesday’s loss to Bethlehem Steel FC. The team added defenders Hunter Gorskie and Miguel Garduno to the roster yesterday, and presumably they will be available tonight. There is a roster addition at midfield as well, but like the kids, probably won’t be available tonight, that’s homegrown player Kevin Paredes. I would expect D.C. to loan the usual suspects down tonight, with a speculation that Chris Odoi-Atsem and/or Donovan Pines get spot starts for a few minutes of conditioning.
Starters: Earl Edwards Jr.; Connor Presley, Collin Verfurth, Harri Hawkins, Peabo Doue; Nelson Martinez, Antonio Bustamante; Orlando Sinclair, Wild, Griffin Yow; Murphy
Bench: Calle Brown, Shane Wiedt, Garduno, Gorskie, Andrew Lubahn, John Murphy, Elvis Amoh
Key Swope Park player: Felipe Hernandez
Swope Park remains last in points, and near the bottom in most offensive numbers, but they are a team that is carrying a shutout streak over four games (283 minutes), and is unbeaten in their last three (2-0-1) while Loudoun has lost three straight and six of their last eight. Hernandez was signed to a homegrown deal by Sporting Kansas City at the end of August for good reason; he leads the team in goals (8), created chances (38) and is second in assists (4), and scored a goal in Swope’s 3-2 loss to Loudoun in June. There is also Aleksander Andrade at fullback but your hub is Hernandez.
Referee: Natalie Simon
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?: Am dealing with a recovering toddler, so it’ll either be water at the stadium or...water from home.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.
(Black and Red United has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Black and Red United and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles.)