The USL Championship can’t be faulted for a weird schedule when it comes to Loudoun United. The team opened at Miami FC with a 2-1 loss after a quick two goals allowed and a 75-minute man advantage wasn’t enough to come back. That game however, was on May 2, with a 2-0 scrimmage win over Philadelphia Union on May 9 being the only action the team has seen. Following tonight’s game, their next game is on May 29, at New Mexico United.
But compared to a similar result and circumstance last season where they held the lead, Loudoun tried to find numerous ways to attack and get chances against Miami and wound up with surprising numbers. In their one game, Loudoun’s 34 shots still have them 9th in the USL, and that one-game shot total overshadows tonight’s opponent’s in New York Red Bulls II, who has 28 shots in three games. Again, weird! But if there was a way to continue the momentum, doing it in a rivalry game against a potentially weak opponent is a good start.
Key player: Kairou Amoustapha
The bright spot of 2020 picked up where he left off in 2021, scoring the team’s only goal, and creating five chances, second only to D.C. United Academy player Jeremy Garay. Against a younger team and defense, he should be able to get behind the Red Bulls for some chances that he should be able to put away.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: Jovanny Bolivar remains at Loudoun, logging five shots (two on target) in the team’s loss to Miami. D.C. draft pick Michael DeShields comes down tonight, so it will be interesting to see how long his conditioning time will go.
Past those, I’d assume no real changes from the group that looked good as the game wore on last time.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; Logan Panchot, DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Gaoussou Samake; Garay, Nicky Downs; Amoustapha, Massimo Ferrin, Bolivar; Samson Sergi
Bench: Noah Abrams, Wahab Ackwei, Robby Dambrot, Hassan Pinto, Abdellatif Aboukoura, Tyler Gabarra, Darluis Paz
Key NYRB2 player: Omar Sowe
Normally I’d probably go with Jake LaCava, who scored against Loudoun last season but was missing from Friday’s game against Hartford due to injury. Sowe is a good fallback, scoring seven goals in 14 games in 2020 at forward. The 20-year-old is quick and can find the net so Mehl and Ackwei should watch out for anything that attacking midfielder Wikelman Cardona can send his way.
Referee: As of Monday 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?: Water? God help me, I’m back at Segra I think, shirking pre-beach trip duties to see soccer.
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