I pride myself on being up to speed with all things Loudoun United, but admittedly even after just two weeks of gameplay, if you’d told me the only teams with perfect records in the Eastern Conference so far were the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Louisville City FC, and Loudoun, I’d have wondered what you’d had to come up with such a take and could you share it with me. But here we are, and Loudoun seems light years ahead of the squads of the last two years, with a couple players who could make the case for League Best XI honors after these first two games.
However, tonight is where the rubber meets the road for the Red-and-White, as they’ll be facing a veteran Miami side who is still learning the ropes under a new coach, similar to what Loudoun experienced in week 1 with Indy Eleven and Mark Lowry, and they handled that OK. Things may be different though, with Loudoun’s next three games being:
- Tonight in Miami
- Next Saturday at Pittsburgh
- Sunday, April 10 at home against Louisville
As fun as seeing Loudoun start off the season so well has been, and it has been fun, we should learn a lot about this team over the next three weeks, starting tonight.
Key player(s): Sami Guediri/Jacob Greene
Miami’s wings include a name to watch that I mention below, along with vets like Pierre Da Silva, USL vet Romeo Parkes and El Salvador international Josh Perez. That’s a caginess that could throw Loudoun’s leading chance creators off-guard, and hope they force things through the middle. I’d presume a battle for control from the kickoff between the two sides to gain position on the field and Loudoun’s representatives on the first two USL Teams of the Week of 2022 should figure heavily in it.
Location: Riccardo Silva Stadium (Miami, FL)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Expect no changes in loan downs this week even with D.C. on an off week, so Hayden Sargis, Jacob Greene, Jeremy Garay, and Kimarni Smith head up the group. Azaad Liadi was with the first team last week and should be back in the lineup and either he or Tyler Freeman would be starting for Jackson Hopkins, who went off early from a red card foul and may not be ready to go.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Grant Lilliard, Sargis, Rio Hope-Gund (C); Guediri, Garay, Nicky Downs, Greene; Michael Gamble; Smith, Freeman
Bench: Luke Peacock, Jace Clark, Carson Vom Steeg, Matai Akinmboni, Landry Houssou, Isaac Espinal, Liadi
Key Miami player/former D.C. players: Mark Segbers
While Kyle Murphy has stepped up his game since leaving Loudoun (and is reunited with former D.C. Academy player Christian Sorto in the 305), Murphy’s teammate in Memphis should garner the most attention. A former New England Revolution draft pick, he’s scored one of the two Miami goals (Perez has the other) and helps in chance creation on the left side. Loudoun dodges a small bullet as central midfielder Devon “Speedy” Williams and Lamar Walker are on international duty with Jamaica, but expect Miami to miss few beats in their 442 under Anthony Pulis.
Referee: Jalen Gray
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: It may be cool enough that a low gravity stout or barleywine could be a move, but we’ll see.
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