Loudoun United has hit a bit of a stretch over the last three weeks, with one goal to their credit on their own, while spending a chunk of time with D.C. United in their friendlies with Alajualense and Alianza. With those out of the way, they find themselves in Florida tonight, going up against a Tampa Bay Rowdies side who they played well against last time, only to lose a road point late in a 2-1 loss. More than that, tonight is the first of three games in eight days, the latter two at home at least.
Meanwhile, the Rowdies are in a bit of a funk; losing three games in a row for the first time since Neill Collins took over as head coach. That’s been more than three years, so Collins and the Rowdies will be looking to right the ship, while Ryan Martin and Loudoun try to one up what they almost did six weeks ago, in order to get another busy week on the right foot, and doing it with two intriguing additions to the club. One will be familiar to many, the other could be one people could see more of.
Key player: Erik Sorga
In retrospect, seeing a) Jovanny Bolivar being out of the 18 last week combined with b) having a night off when asked by the team about it, given his performance thus far with Loudoun and D.C. United, a recall for Bolivar was coming, and roster numbers being what they were, Sorga would be the odd man out, and was, loaned to Loudoun this week. MLS roster rules dictate that if a player has not received his green card by the beginning of the secondary transfer window, so Sorga remains an international player for 2021, and gets to rehab a quadriceps injury with Loudoun.
More than that, Sorga is a guy who came to D.C. attached to a $500,000 transfer fee and a 30+ goal-scoring season with FC Flora. He’s struggled to claim regular minutes, starting 9 of 20 games and 1 goal (in 2020) to his credit in a season and change. Barring injury or trade, Sorga will presumably see the rest of his 2021 minutes with Loudoun and will try to regain his scoring prowess for a team that’s scored one goal in their last three games.
Coming off a quadriceps injury he may not be the choice tonight but in the longer term, something resembling the pre-D.C. days of Sorga helps in a few different aspects.
Location: Al Lang Stadium (St. Petersburg, FL)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning:
A couple of things here:
Adding on, Michael DeShields who missed Loudoun’s last 3 games/DC United’s Capital Cup games to injury, is ready to go for them also— Ryan Keefer (@reefa_k) July 23, 2021
DeShields had been dealing with an injury that kept him out of Loudoun’s last three games, and I’d presume he may go from the start today. Hopkins started his career with VDA, then went to D.C.’s Academy, to the New York Red Bulls before returning to D.C. Jackson is a 2004-born midfielder who plays centrally and on the left, and is good with both feet. Expect him to get a look or two over the next few days.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Robby Dambrot; Ted Ku-DiPietro, Nicky Downs, Jeremy Garay, Jacob Greene; Giovanni Montesdeoca; Kimarni Smith, Kairou Amoustapha
Bench: Keegan Meyer, Matt Di Rosa, Alexxon Saravia, Hopkins, Michael Gamble, Sorga, Darluis Paz
Key Tampa player/former D.C. players: Lewis Hilton
Sebastian Guenzatti plays forward as is dangerous as ever since he leads the East in goals (8) and shots (34), but was rotated out of last week’s game (a surprising loss to Miami FC), so to avoid redundancy, I’ll go with the chance creator leading the team (28), more than 10 ahead of Leo Fernandes. Tampa’s looking for a lot of different answers, Hilton and Guenzatti are as good a place to look for them as any.
Referee: As of Friday 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?: Probably the latest of Crooked Run’s Swirl series, I tasted it last night (6% Sprite smoothie!) and dug it, may as well go light.
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