With Loudoun United winning comprehensively Wednesday night 4-1 over Swope Park Rangers, it officially eliminated Swope from a chance at a playoff berth. Swope is 18th, 17th and 16th have been eliminated, which leaves us Loudoun at 15th with 27 points. 10th place is Birmingham tied with Charleston at 39. With six games left, Loudoun needs to win just about every game in front of them, and tonight is the first of three straight ones against formidable opposition.
Key player: Gordon Wild
Can I keep writing Wild’s name in here? No seriously, can I? I’ve put him in here in the last two games and he’s gotten four goals, including the free kick/penalty kick/open play hat trick goal in Wednesday’s win. He now has six goals in his last six games (eight overall), and is one behind Kyle Murphy for the team lead in goals, is tied for the assist lead (3) with three others, and pulled into second place in shots (35) and chances created (33), all in 10 games since his first game with Loudoun at the end of July. Loudoun has quickly become the desired developmental path for D.C. United’s Academy players, but Wild potentially rediscovering his game after injuries (and Atlanta United’s bizarre decision to try him as a wingback) are also subtle benefits of having a USL team under your control.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11: Well I thought that Kevin Paredes wouldn’t get any time Wednesday and he did, so clearly don’t follow this account! Although I was half right on Chris Odoi-Atsem, so...go me! Nevertheless, I’d expect Carlos Alvarez to slot back in the starting lineup, and Antonio Bustamante and Griffin Yow were spotted at Loudoun practice this week. Hunter Gorskie got a start Wednesday, so perhaps this week’s other new signing (Miguel Garduno) gets one tonight at center back, seeing as how Harri Hawkins wasn’t spotted in training and was out of the lineup Wednesday. Some rotation would have to be expected as Loudoun turns back around to play Tuesday night.
Starters: Earl Edwards Jr.; Connor Presley, Collin Verfurth, Garduno, Peabo Doue; Moses Nyeman, Jeremy Garay; Alvarez, Wild, Yow; Murphy
Bench: Calle Brown, Shane Wiedt, Jacob Greene, Andrew Lubahn, Bustamante, Christian Sorto, Elvis Amoh
Key Nashville player: Daniel Rios
Nashville is in a bit of a draught at the moment, with one goal in their last three games, but Rios (the first signing for the future MLS club) is the cog. Rios finished second in the USL Championship last year with 20 goals, was signed by Nashville and he is currently...second in the League, this time with 17 goals. He scored the brace in the first game (Loudoun’s first) between the two clubs, and is one to watch,
Referee: Danielle Chesky
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?: Well I was home Wednesday with a recovering toddler, who is closer to full speed now so media water it may be.
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