2021 saw Loudoun United play a variety of games with the Charleston Battery; the first game saw them not be able to finish their chances in a 1-0 loss, the second game was a 3-0 thumping in South Carolina, while the third saw an entertaining first 45 before the Battery vets took over, beating Loudoun 5-3. Loudoun’s last game was a scoreless draw with a cagey Charlotte side that saw them get some looks and challenge the older side, and that performance is something they’re looking to build on for tonight’s game as they close out the season series with the Battery.
Key player: Jackson Hopkins (?)
Small sample size, but the 17-year-old from D.C. United’s Academy has come on in the second halves of the last two games and looked increasingly comfortable, forcing goalkeepers in both games to make acrobatic saves, and worked a little more in central midfield helping to get the midfielders up in the attack. Whether he emerges into a chance creator at this level remains to be seen, given what Ryan Martin said after last week’s game about increasing his workload, perhaps he’s up for a shot at a long run tonight.
Location: Patriots Point Soccer Complex (Charleston, SC)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: The same guys who were loaned out last week come back this week (read: Michael DeShields, Jacob Greene and Kimarni Smith), with the only question being whether DeShields, who came on as a late-game substitute following an injury to Hassan Pinto, starts from the jump on not.
Jermaine Fordah’s Team of the Week performance last week is going to be needed again, and while I’m unsure if he makes the 18 tonight (maybe?), I wanted to touch on Isaac Espinal, who Loudoun/D.C. signed to an Academy contract this week. This video is of him at the USYNT ID camp in 2019 for the U14s. Do with that what you wish, but I’ll note that three other D.C. kids were at the camp, albeit at a higher age group; Griffin Yow, Moses Nyeman, and Kevin Paredes. It may not mean anything, but giving the winger pro minutes before his 16th birthday does sound intriguing.
Starters: Fordah; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Alexxon Saravia; Jacob Greene, Landry Houssou, Jeremy Garay, Darluis Paz; Ted Ku-DiPietro (C); Kairou Amoustapha, Kimarni Smith
Bench: Meyer, Wahab Ackwei, Nicky Downs, Massimo Ferrin, Giovanni Montesdeoca, Sammy Sergi, Hopkins
Key Charleston player/former D.C. players: Claudio Repetto
The 24-year-old spent most of his youth with the Genoa system before moving to the states and signing for Charleston in June after a couple of years with Coastal Carolina. His four goals have him tied for second (with club stalwart Zeiko Lewis) in the team, but he scored two versus Loudoun, including a sweet backheel goal for the brace. If he’s ready to go, the ponies should look out.
Referee: Not announced as of Thursday night.
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: When I went to D.C.’s game Sunday night, one of the first things I did when I got there was to trade some bottles with a guy in D.C., so I got some Side Project blended bottles to enjoy, and I have so far, liking a Grisette and Wild Ale from them. I got one of the Pulling Nails blends next on the list.
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