Sometimes you’re lucky in the good way and other times in a bad way, and Loudoun United found themselves in a weird position during their 2-0 loss to Hartford. Working with Loudoun fairly well, Jovanny Bolivar had a chance to score against Hartford from the penalty spot for the second straight game and give the lead to Loudoun, but a diving gloved save turned momentum the other way, with a goal from a fantastic, almost flukey pass, and another from a bad header. After a confidence-boosting win in midweek, Loudoun found themselves with 0 points.
In a weird way, this week’s opponent brings things back around to a circle of some sort. Loudoun’s scored 9 goals (when their xG is almost twice that) and allowed 16 (when their xGA is just below that), and their xG actual vs differential is officially the highest/worst in the USL, and against Miami FC in week 1, Loudoun had a man advantage for 75 minutes, but came up short in a 2-1 loss. Loudoun outshot their opponent 34-8 but couldn’t overcome spotting Miami a brace in the first eight minutes, and Loudoun’s xG of 3.29 compared to Miami’s 0.73 against the result could not be a more accurate summary of their season to this point. Ryan Martin presumably has made them acutely aware of this so it can be rectified.
Key player: Giovanni Montesdeoca
It may be a little unfair to tab the new signing so soon, but in 4 days with the club, Montesdeoca went 90 minutes last week, but drew the foul that led to the penalty kick, had two created chances, and connected at almost 80% of his 29 passes, 26 of which were short passes, so in keeping things simple for Gio, he handled things well, and Martin hopes to build on that after being impressed with his work last week.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 5:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Between Jason’s tweet about D.C. fielding a strong lineup and Goff’s tweet of the starting XI that included Jacob Greene, it sounds* like Bolivar and Kimarni Smith (who both played 45 in D.C.’s first-leg win over Alajualense) will be available, along with presumably Michael DeShields, who missed out on the friendly and last week’s Loudoun game.
Last week Loudoun signed Montesdeoca the Friday before the game, this week they added Matt Di Rosa Friday afternoon. The 22-year-old from the University of Maryland played youth soccer at Bethesda and was drafted 25th by Toronto FC in the MLS Superdraft (seven picks ahead of Logan Panchot coincidentally). The week of the draft Travis Clark had Di Rosa going in the Top 10 and Matt Doyle had him as the top left-back on the board. Like Panchot, Di Rosa can also come forward with solid crossing ability and gives Martin some added versatility to the gameday lineup, which he’ll presumably be a part of today. Nicky Downs, Ted Ku-DiPietro, and Kairou Amoustapha played 30 minutes or less, so I imagine they’ll be options as well.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Diego Gomez; Logan Panchot, Downs, Jeremy Garay, Robby Dambrot; Abdellatif Aboukoura, Montesdeoca, Darluis Paz
Bench: Noah Abrams, Wahab Ackwei, Di Rosa, Ku-DiPietro, Amoustapha, Smith, Bolivar
Key Miami player/former D.C. players: Ariel Martinez
Loudoun didn’t get a chance to go against Martinez much after the early first-half red half that forced him to get subbed off, he remains a dangerous weapon for Miami, allowing attackers like Pierre Da Silva and former University of Maryland and D.C. player Christiano Francois to go forward in attack. With Martinez, Da Silva, and Francois and without Devon Williams, and Lamar Walker (with Jamaica for the Gold Cup), Miami dressed 16 in their surprise midweek win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies and host Tampa again Saturday (for full capacity for the first time this season), so this also could be a trap game for them, but we’ll see.
Referee: As of Saturday night, not yet 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?: Legitimately unsure, but will have water when I get there before going to dinner afterward.
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