Loudoun United played host to a road crowd of sorts at Segra Field last week against Colorado Springs; Michael Edwards and 80 plus of his friends and family showed out to see the D.C. United Academy alum play his first pro game in the DMV area after his rights were traded to the Colorado Rapids. Edwards wasn’t the only Colorado player to have friends make the drive to see him, at least four other players had fans of their own. And while the environment was different, the result (a 3-1 loss) was the same for Loudoun. More than that, Loudoun’s Expected Goals was almost two and a half goals, the sixth time in 15 games where the actual goals for was under at least one goal. There’s snakebit, and there’s whatever it is that Loudoun has been going through for large chunks of the year.
If there is something to take into tonight’s matchup it’s that they’re unbeaten in 2 games in the team they face tonight (Charlotte), the team who Loudoun played to a wild 3-3 draw in the game that opened Segra Field almost two years ago. They still believe in 2021, how many more moral victories they can take may be another matter.
Key player: A finisher, somewhere
Charlotte is pretty much a what you see is what you get group; their goals for and against is in line with their expected goals in both respective categories, Loudoun has been more active in both totals as well, but with the departure of Jovanny Bolivar, the only person with an expected goals total above 3 is Sammy Sergi, and he got those in Week 1’s loss to Miami FC. Guys like Ted Ku-DiPietro and Darluis Paz are growing into some confidence offensively, they’ll need to take a big step up against veteran goalkeeper Brandon Miller, whose five shutouts equal his 2020 total and are second in the USL.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Erik Sorga was recalled last week, so imagine my surprise when he wasn’t included in the D.C. lineup in Wednesday’s win over the Columbus Crew. Nevertheless, with D.C. playing a billion August games, Sorga and the recently recalled Jacob Greene will probably stay there for a bit until the roster gets a little healthier, leaving Kimarni Smith and Michael DeShields the only loanees of note (Jeremy Garay remains a USL Academy player until next season). Smith had an impressive performance last week that culminated in his first pro goal, so I imagine he comes back to build on it.
That above space will probably stay the same for a bit, so until there is more information about player availability, things remain a little gray for Loudoun heading up against a formidable defense and goalkeeper.
Starters: Jermaine Fordah; DeShields, Timmy Mehl, Alexxon Saravia; Kairou Amoustapha, Nicky Downs, Jeremy Garay, Matt Di Rosa; Ku-DiPietro; Smith, Paz
Bench: Keegan Meyer, Matt Di Rosa, Landry Houssou, Giovanni Montesdeoca, Jackson Hopkins, Michael Gamble, Sergi
Key Charlotte Springs player/former D.C. players: Dane Kelly
Turns out it’s both! The guy who scored 66 goals in 154 games and three USL sides, who played a game for D.C. United in 2018, left after that and has still scored goals, with 21 over 47 games with Indy Eleven and Charlotte, left for the Israeli Premier League at the beginning of this year, only to return to the Independence in May and hasn’t lost a step; his seven goals in nine games/two and a half months have been in the Top 10 in the USL and account for more than a third of Charlotte’s 19 total goals. Facing a Loudoun side that has allowed the most goals in the USL, the test is going to be a solid one for the ponies.
In terms of potentially related news, Christian Fuchs (signed with Charlotte FC and loaned to the Independence) seems to mildly tease a debut, but the Independence did acquire Jose Bizama on loan from the Houston Dynamo so between those guys, Hugh Roberts and Christian Dean, the backline is going to be formidable.
Referee: As of Thursday 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?: Water, water, everywhere.
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