We may be getting to the point where if it wasn’t for bad luck, Loudoun United wouldn’t have any luck at all. Given their game Saturday night against Charleston, which wound up being a 3-0 loss. Indulge me for a second:
As you can see, Loudoun had a myriad of chances leading up to the first hydration break 30 minutes in Saturday’s game, and despite the third goal, kept trying to get chances on net. From an xG perspective, this wasn’t even Loudoun's best performance on the season! That went to them in Week 1 at Miami, where they logged a 3.32 xG number.
Then you see what’s failing them currently; between this game and that Miami game (which they were up a man for 75 minutes), they scored 1 goal, and have 0 points to show for it. Loudoun’s xG on the year is almost double their actual total, combined with slightly higher goals allowed versus actual, and they have the 2nd worst goal differential vs. expected in the USL. If finishing was close to expected they would almost certainly be out of the Atlantic Division cellar, maybe even contesting for a playoff berth if they had any luck.
But as the above showed, the chances they had leading up to the Battery’s first goal were better than anything Chucktown had, and it was a wheel and fire that got by for the first goal. Loudoun didn’t put their heads down (and certainly, last year’s team would have done so), but Ryan Martin does have some encouraging underlying things to see coming back home to face a veteran Riverhounds squad that’s just looking to extend their unbeaten streak to five. No big deal!
112 in ‘20 (2 double digits)
94 in ‘21 (3 double digits)
Key player: Jovanny Bolivar
On a team that has been underperforming their Expected Goals, Bolivar has strangely been one of them, albeit at a small level, but the things that people will notice are his chance-taking with 20 shots currently 10th in the USL, but he’s started to incorporate his teammates as of late for chances of their own, now up to 10 for Loudoun (future inevitably official D.C. United homegrown signing Jeremy Garay leads the team with 17).
But to borrow from my last verse for a second, Loudoun has 3 players (Garay, Bolivar, and Kairou Amoustapha’s 11) in double digits for created chances so far this season. Loudoun had two players in double digits all over 2020. After 8 games in 2021, Loudoun has 94 created chances. In their 13-game 2020 season, Loudoun had 112.
So things are more abundant than last season, it’s on the players, and Bolivar, to (borrow from the Washington Capitals cheap seats) shoooooooot.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: Bolivar, Jacob Greene, and Kimarni Smith all return, Michael DeShields left early in the first half of Saturday’s loss moments after catching an arm to the face. His status for tonight is unknown (the team has not responded to an update request).
Along with DeShields, his replacement Wahab Ackwei had to come off for an injury and would presumably be doubtful tonight. Loudoun hosts Hartford at home Sunday, so Martin may mostly go with the same bunch here, but after a couple of lapses in the back might choose to switch things up as a wakeup of sorts. If that happens, whoever comes in will have to be on their toes.
Starters: Keegan Meyer; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Robby Dambrot; Greene, Landry Houssou, Jeremy Garay, Gaoussou Samake; Ted Ku-DiPietro; Kairou Amoustapha, Bolivar
Bench: Jermaine Fordah, Logan Panchot, Owen Walz, Abdellatif Aboukoura, Nicky Downs, Darluis Paz, Smith
Key Pittsburgh player/former D.C. players: Kenardo Forbes
Forbes comes off a performance where an assist tied him for the club record on the total in his career, and it earned him a Team of the Week nomination. He continues to draw attention for his performances, and if Albert Dikwa or Alex Dixon get to rest for a bit, he’ll be the guy to watch. Given rotation, I’d presume former D.C. homegrown player Jalen Robinson starts at Loudoun again, perhaps former Loudoun player Shane Wiedt gets run as well. On a team with a few weapons, Forbes remains dangerous after all this time.
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?: It’s going to be 85 at kickoff, so I will be sitting on ice.
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