It remains impressive to me how much Loudoun United went down to Albuquerque and had New Mexico United on their heels for the first part of the game, by their coach’s admission. Whether the first team needs had anything to do with it or not I don’t know, but some defense, key saves, and a dusting of shithousery could have come into play, but a 1-0 win in front of almost 9,000 people is nothing to sneeze at when you’ve played twice in a month.
So now you’re Loudoun United, and you play at altitude Saturday night, fly back Sunday afternoon, have maybe one training session, and your reward? You get to play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who you’ve not beaten in your first five games, and only scored one goal against over that same amount of time.
Nobody said it was easy, but if Loudoun was looking to continue the larceny, doing it at home against a cagey Hounds team (who played in New Jersey Friday night, defeating the New York Red Bulls II) is a good place to start. The Hounds’ defense still has some early-season anxiety, so there’s a chance, or so Ryan Martin will tell his bunch.
Key player: Nicky Downs
This is a speculative pick on my part for a couple of reasons; first, Jeremy Garay and Ted Ku-DiPietro started in central midfield Saturday night, with the former going 90 minutes and Downs coming on for the latter with about 15 minutes to go, and I doubt Martin puts Garay in there so quickly by himself. The Hounds may have lost some pieces in the back, but the midfield and forwards remain a cohesive and dangerous bunch, and Loudoun will need a presence in the middle to gum the works up for the bad guys.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: Jovanny Bolivar’s goal was part of a Team of the Week performance, and I imagine he sticks around next to Michael DeShields and Jacob Greene.
Given Loudoun’s busy 72 hours or so, the good news is Loudoun’s next game isn’t until next Tuesday when they play winless Charleston, so perhaps getting some mileage out of the current bunch isn’t out of the question, though seeing the first start for say, a Darluis Paz should be considered.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Robby Dambrot; Greene, Downs, Ku-DiPietro, Bolivar; Tyler Gabarra, Samson Sergi, Paz
Bench: Noah Abrams, Wahab Ackwei, Gaoussou Samake, Logan Panchot, Abdellatif Aboukoura, Jeremy Garay, Landry Houssou, Massimo Ferrin
Key Pittsburgh player/former D.C. players: Alex Dixon
As part of their three-man backline, Shane Wiedt, who played the last two seasons with Loudoun, helms the middle. Given that Pittsburgh just played Friday and then hosts Austin Sunday, there may be the decision to rotate a little; given the game is in town, former D.C. United homegrown player Jalen Robinson may get his first start with the Hounds as well. Past those, Dixon, fresh off a goal and an assist in their last game (earning him a Team of the Week nod), will be one to watch. Playing under Albert Dikwa and Russell Cicerone and near the always Kenardo Forbes, Dixon’s made a quick impression in the attackers and may take advantage of a leggy and/or green bunch of defenders.
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?: Food merchant water, baby!
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