There are a couple of things to know about Loudoun United heading into tonight’s game with the Oakland Roots; first is that Loudoun’s looking for some offense against a team with a few veterans on it, who do have some talent, talent enough to extend Loudoun’s winless streak deeper into April, with Loudoun hosting a talented Birmingham side next week, so this game will be interesting to see how Ryan Martin’s bunch get some sort of result on the road.
The second appears to be that when it comes to Loudoun heading to new places for the first time, things can get a little crazy. Martin took a bunch of kids to Kansas City and traded chances with Swope Park in a 3-2 win in one of his first games as coach in 2019, and last year Loudoun went to ABQ last season to play a tough New Mexico side and walked out with a 1-0 win that would ultimately be their only road win of 2021. Like a bit of what’s gone on so far in 2022, Loudoun has matched that win total already, now the chance to built on it shows up in a game between two sides late Saturday night.
player concept: Keeping things on the front foot
Oakland’s been to South Carolina for an Open Cup game, back home for a midweek rivalry game against San Diego and gets Loudoun who are on a full week of rest. Loudoun’s outshot Oakland despite playing one fewer game. Loudoun’s gotten to know each other while Oakland is still trying to get together under Juan Guerra, who was named as the team’s coach in the offseason. They’re getting closer, but Loudoun, already parched from not being able to score, has a number of talented weapons handy and should look to take the initiative early and try to score on a vulnerable Roots side.
Location: Laney Football Stadium (Oakland, CA)
Kickoff time: 10:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Loudoun’s in a mild pickle this week, with Jeremy Garay and the younger Academy kids at the Generation Adidas Cup, and most of the loan downs staying home to prep for Open Cup play next week. There will still be some loanees here, likely Jacob Greene and Kimarni Smith, but I’d expect a less than full bunch. Skage Simonsen and Grant Lillard are out to injury which doesn’t help either.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Nicky Downs, Rio Hope-Gund (C), Carson Vom Steeg; Greene, Houssou Landry, Michael Gamble, Sami Guediri; Tyler Freeman; Smith, Azaad Liadi
Bench: Joe Rice, Mathias Yohannes, Abdellatif Aboukoura, Zoumana Diarra, Abdoul Zanne
Key Oakland player/former D.C. players: Ottar Magnus Karlsson
Former D.C. draft pick Akeem Ward played with Loudoun in 2019 and is back with the Roots, Quincy Amarikwa was with them last season before moving on as a free agent. Past that, the Iceland international (on loan from Serie A side Venezia) leads the team in shots and goals, including the game-tying goal deep in stoppage time Wednesday vs. San Diego. Oakland employs a 541 of sorts with Karlsson at the top and may take the possession to feed it to Karlsson. Oakland is on the fourth game in two-week run, is one of two winless teams left in the USL (Hartford is the other), and following an effort where they got a point against a local enemy while being down a man, will look to push for the three points to try and close this three game homestand of League games on an up note.
Referee: Lorenzo Hernandez
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What do we have to say about it?: I talked with Martin, Rio Hope-Gund and Sami Guediri at practice this week, go read it!
What are you drinking?: Kombucha? Water? I dunno, I have to stay up after this to feed my six month old child, so I’m not hitting the heavy stuff.
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