Following two listless offensive performances, Loudoun United got the guns going again in the last month, but the defense became a problem in two late July games where they gave up eight total goals, and then they subsequently righted that ship, and have been playing more defensively sound games in their last two efforts, giving up one goal that went in off the goalpost in a 1-0 loss to the Charleston Battery. The week before that they held the Charlotte Independence scoreless, but the common thread in both is they failed to get on the scoreboard in that either, settling for a 0-0 draw. Only one other team has scored fewer goals than Loudoun’s 15, and the topic of their under-realizing their Expected Goals has been covered before, so I’ll just link to it this time. They run into a team they’ve had trouble with before albeit in limited exposure, so tonight at Segra will be tough.
Key player: The central midfield.
Jeremy Garay is with El Salvador as they prepare to play Costa Rica this weekend, so Nicky Downs and Landry Houssou are probably in for a challenge with a veteran midfield that is also smart and has speed on the outside. Downs has looked decent, Houssou has had two starts but has slowly improved in his substitute appearances, but the 1,237 combined minutes for the two this season is still fewer than Garay’s 1,258, to say nothing of his team-leading 22 created chances. In lieu of any other known option, a solid effort from these two will be imperative.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Jacob Greene skipped Friday’s game and was on D.C.’s plane to Memphis for Sunday night and is presumably still with them, so Kimarni Smith and Michael DeShields should get the call. With the next game on Monday, we’ll see if Ryan Martin sticks with most of the bunch from last Friday or goes with a sort of rotation going of sorts, since they’ll have essentially two weeks off after that.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; Owen Walz, Timmy Mehl, Alexxon Saravia; Kairou Amoustapha, Downs, Houssou, Robby Dambrot; Ted Ku-DiPietro; Smith, Darluis Paz
Bench: Noah Abrams, DeShields, Matt Di Rosa, Giovanni Montesdeoca, Jackson Hopkins, Michael Gamble, Sammy Sergi
Key Indy player/former D.C. players: Nicky Law
Tackling the latter first, as an independent side Indy has absorbed former MLS players like Karl Ouimette and Jordan Hamilton, but former University of Maryland Terrapin Gordon Wild makes his return to the DMV, following a 2019 season where Atlanta United released him and D.C. signed him and stashed him in Loudoun where he sparked a fascinating (albeit late) playoff push for the team in Year One. Wild went to the LA Galaxy in 2020 before landing in Indy this year and leading the team in assists so far (3).
On the former, Law (a former Glasgow Rangers and Motherwell alum) comes off a week where he scored a goal and assisted on the other in an Indy win, and his 28 created chances are second behind Wild’s 29 and if they can get going with Ayoze and find Hamilton for chances, things could get ugly for Loudoun.
Referee: Alejo Calume
Available Streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Following a weekend where my kid caught a cold and my wife has a cold, nobody trusts anybody anymore, we’re all tired, so preemptive Vitamin C and fluids for this guy at home.
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