Like a lot of other things when it came to Loudoun United’s restart of their 2020 season, winning games or getting points on the road was going to be daunting. After all, the team had a record of 2-5-2 against their Group F opponents before the restart, which has since gone to 2-7-2 following last week’s 4-1 loss to Hartford Athletic.
If there were an upside to tonight’s game, it’s that those wins have come over the New York Red Bulls II in 2019; the first a surprising April win that saw them triple their goals scored to date, the second a 7-3 thumping to end 2019 on an up note. Coach Ryan Martin knows what rivalry games mean to his team with so many coming up through the D.C. system, kicking off an eight game in 30 day swing that could easily decide whether they have anything left to play for at the end of it. Given they are last in the group but do have several games in hand over all other teams in the group, there is nowhere to go but up.
Key player: Alioune Ndour
The 19 year old, who ended 2019 with 5 goals in his first 4 USL games, saw his first minutes of 2020 in a second half substitute appearance against Hartford. Granted Loudoun was playing to get back into things, but in 33 minutes of work, Ndour had 3 of the team’s 12 shots and they looked more lively in attack, and given the Baby Bulls are coming off a 4-1 loss of their own (at Pittsburgh Saturday), they are certainly prime for the Loudoun offense. Right?
Location: Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: Loudoun is still Loudoun, no loanees this week. Almost all of the same players who played last week made the trip, with one exception, as Joshua Fawole gets into the 18, replacing Christian Sorto. Fawole is coming off an LCL injury in training and in the opening game in March against the Philadelphia Union II brought quickness and good off the ball movement and put himself and teammates into attack more.
Weirdly this would seem to be Loudoun’s most attack-minded 18 (or something close to it) before the team starts some rotation for their Saturday game at Louisville. Ndour and Fawole know their way around goal, Kairou Amoustapha was interesting on the right side in his USL debut, Elvis Amoh plays a lot of different positions on field and has scored the team’s 2 goals of 2020 (albeit on penalty kicks). Add Ted Ku-DiPietro to the mix and baby, you’ve got a stew going.
Starters: Colin Miller; Jeremy Greene, Adam Lundegard, Shane Wiedt, Peabo Doue; Jeremy Garay, Brandon Williamson; Kairou Amoustapha, Michael Gamble, Ted Ku-DiPietro; Alioune Ndour
Bench: Lorenzo Gordon, Allexon Saravia, Timothy Mehl, Nelson Martinez, Massimo Ferrin, Elvis Amoh, Josh Fawole
Key NYRB2 player: Caden Clark
The Baby Bulls will be without Kyle Zajec due to season ending foot surgery, which is significant as he was leading a younger 2020 group in created chances. I’ll skip Sebastian Elney and look to the midfielder who turned 17 in March, whose last club was the Barcelona Academy and who has garnered United States YNT call-ups next to Loudoun/D.C. United players Jacob Greene, Jeremy Garay, Adam Lundegard, Moses Nyeman and Kevin Paredes. If Greene, Garay and Lundegard can ensure Clark’s distribution options are limited, perhaps there is a chance for victory.
Referee: As of Tuesday night, not announced.
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: So awhile back I decided to “attend” a virtual beer festival hosted by Oozlefinch Beers and Blending from Hampton, VA. Basically pay some money, get a box of beers, see some online sessions, and whatnot. The box was delivered Friday and I’m still going through that accordingly.
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.)