After a 2019 that saw Loudoun United start the season with a long road trip and end it with four straight home wins, coach Ryan Martin identified a core of players to bring back and the team not only became younger, but it felt like more of a team that local players could flock to. And for 2020, Loudoun United find themselves...on the road again! They open the 2020 USL Championship season against the team formerly known as Bethlehem Steel FC, now known as the Philadelphia Union II.
The two clubs played high scoring affairs, with Loudoun drawing at home 3-3 before losing at Chester 5-2, allowing three goals in a fourteen-minute span that bookended half-time, with Loudoun’s inconsistency over 90 minutes rearing its ugly head once more. Martin and Loudoun get to start things anew tonight.
Key player: Jake Dengler
For all of the bluster I gave to the offense in my preview of Loudoun’s 2020 season, the fact of the matter remains that the team gave up almost two goals per game in 2019, with 65 being 8th most allowed in the league. Dengler will be playing next to players who will likely be holdovers from last season in left back Peabo Doue, center back Shane Wiedt and right back Robbie Dambrot or Jacob Greene. But he’s going to have to make a good first impression. Thankfully if the Philly 2 team that scored the third fewest goals in the USL Championship shows up, it could be encouraging for him.
Location: Subaru Park (Chester, PA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. loans: With Chris Seitz out to injury and Earl Edwards Jr. staying with the first team to back up Bill Hamid, I’d expect D.C. first round pick Simon Lefebvre to get the start. Griffin Yow would presumably stay with D.C. as well because of a lingering groin issue to Ulises Segura. While Kevin Paredes left training to injury this week, the team announced he and Moses Nyeman are making the Chester trip.
Starters: Lefebvre; Robbie Dambrot, Jake Dengler, Shane Wiedt, Peabo Doue; Jeremy Garay, Nyeman; Elvis Amoh, Michael Gamble, Ted Ku-DiPietro; Alioune Ndour
Bench: Colin Miller, Allexon Saravia, Ally Ng’anzi, Brandon Williamson, Paredes, Massimo Ferrin, Abdoul Amoustapha
Key U2 player: Zach Zandi
If there is a backup name to watch here, David Rabadan may be it. When Rabadan was acquired this week by the Union, both Sporting Director Ernst Tanner and coach Sven Gartung had high praise for the midfielder from Spain Segunda side Albacete. If U2 can get Rabadan involved and going then things get interesting. But for many of the reasons that The Brotherly Game’s Matt Ralph outlined when the teams played last September, Zandi’s name still applies as the one to watch.
Referee: Thomas Snyder
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: I’m set to be there tonight, so either water or (after a long day of driving around the Eastern Shore) coffee may be in order.
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