A little more than two weeks ago saw Loudoun United earn their first win of 2020 in a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls II which served as a closer reflection on what their roster appears to be. While admittedly they were working against a Baby Bulls squad that was playing with 10 for 75 minutes, they got comfortable with their individual performances, and even scored a non-set piece goal to boot. While the next two games were both 2-0 losses, one was on the road with a short squad of 16 to the back-to-back-to-back MLS Cup Finalists (Louisville), and the other was to a team that’s quickly become an Eastern standings-topper (Pittsburgh), they used these experiences to play well on the road last week despite faltering late in a 2-2 draw to Hartford.
Red Bulls II are a sort of comfort toy for Loudoun, as they have won all three games against them, and with another demanding stretch on the horizon (Loudoun has road games against Group F leaders Pittsburgh and Hartford on the road in the next week), getting off to a good start and getting off on a good note would be helpful to the group.
Key player: Kairou Amoustapha
Amoustapha did not join Loudoun until after the restart and has gradually found his confidence in his new league. The 19-year old from Niger appeared in each of Loudoun’s four games spanning 11 days, starting three, and appeared as a first half sub in the other, uses his speed to take on defenders and has been able to find his teammates on runs more over the last couple of games. With a full complement of rest he may get a break today, but even in an hour or so of playing time, he should be able to take advantage of a slower Red Bulls back line to add to his team-leading total of created chances (8).
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 6:30pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Following a Tuesday when Moses Nyeman wasn’t in D.C.’s lineup (and has no reported injury), you would think he would get a cup of coffee tonight, but here we are. There could be some rotation tonight ahead of the Tuesday game at Pittsburgh, but one spot to watch may be in net again. Simon Lefebvre’s first start saw him give up 2 goals, albeit on well-taken free kicks. But his distribution looked to be better than Colin Miller’s and playing out of the back they looked more confident. Coach Ryan Martin could either let Lefebvre go again or let shot-stopper Miller show his work against Pittsburgh last time was no fluke.
In addition as far as player availability goes, save for a couple of already injured players, Martin has a full complement of players he can use tonight. Could guys like Ally Ng’Anzi and Gabriel Gomez (son of D.C. player Christian) see their first minutes tonight? We’ll see!
Starters: Lefebvre; Jeremy Greene, Adam Lundegard, Shane Wiedt, Alexxon Saravia; Nelson Martinez, Brandon Williamson; Kairou Amoustapha, Joshua Fawole, Michael Gamble; Alioune Ndour
Bench: Miller, Peabo Doue, Timothy Mehl, Gomez, Ng’Anzi, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Amoh
Key NYRB2 player: Sebastian Elney
The Baby Bulls will have had a two-week break following the postponement of their last game last Sunday (against the Philadelphia Union II) “due to an abundance of caution” following a positive Covid test amongst the Philly delegation. The 23-year-old forward had moments of danger when the two teams last played, and I assume the same tonight, especially if Caden Clark and/or Jake LaCava can find some moments to find him.
Referee: As of (early) Saturday morning, 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?: Vibez by Aslin. I’m having hard seltzer. God help me.
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