Rather than blithely start about something and sound poetic, I’ll go with a quote tweet I did of Steven Goff which, while a week old, is still applicable:
Team with the most wins in the last month? Loudoun United, who have gone 2-2-1 since June 8 https://t.co/BPmp91gfwG— Ryan Keefer (@reefa_k) July 11, 2022
More than that, tonight they get a chance tonight to do something they haven’t done in their short club history; go five straight games at home without losing. This is kind of amazing when you think about it; the next closest streak they had was closing out 2019 with three straight wins and well, 2020 and 2021 have been nothing to write home about. And when you look at Loudoun at home over the last two months, two were wins and two were stoppage-time draws, so this could very well have been a preview about a team going for their fifth straight win at home. Bounces and such, I know.
However, tonight’s opponent is one they’ve had trouble with in the past and comes into Leesburg unbeaten in nine and attempting to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference table.
player concept: Seeing things out, all the way
Sneakily Loudoun’s given up late goals in various game states; after the 75th minute, the Red-and-White has allowed ten goals, including seven(!) in their last six games, which has seen them squander five points, and almost three more in their shootout with Phoenix last month where they hung on for a 4-3 win. Those five points would have put them in 10th instead of 12th where they currently sit, with multiple games on hand over the teams in front of them and the chance to make a run to get over the red line. The team’s had two weeks to decompress and it’s the halfway point of the season; may as well start things off good tonight.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Well in Loudoun’s first game of the Rooney era, it remains to be seen; it seems like Jeremy Garay and Jacob Greene will get a chance to go, Kimarni Smith appeared in D.C.’s draw with Columbus and Gaoussou Samaké was on the bench, and Sami Guediri has been promoted to a full-time, first team contract.
Even with the uncertainty this is going to be a lineup that needs to hold their lines and counter when they can; Guediri led the team in created chances (31) and shots (15), and Abdellatif Aboukoura, tied for the team lead in goals (4), is with the Egypt National Team for the U-20 Arab Cup, and those are two substantive losses in a lineup with the second lowest goals scored (18) in the USL Championship.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Jalen Robinson, Carson Vom Steeg, Grant Lillard; Rio Hope-Gund, Nicky Downs, Garay, Greene; Tyler Freeman, Skage Simonsen, Michael Gamble
Bench: Joe Rice, Hayden Sargis, Houssou Landry, Azaad Liadi, Zoumana Diarra, Kristian Fletcher, Isaac Espinal
Key Tampa Bay player/former D.C. players: Leo Fernandes
Fernandes and Jake Lacava (on loan from the New York Red Bulls) are tied with nine goals each, but Fernandes can add four assists and 29 created chances and is fresh off being named Player of the Month for five June goals. The Rowdies may lack some defensive stoutness now that Forrest Lasso is no longer there but they have the firepower to help adjust for things in 2022.
Referee: Esad Omanovic
Available Streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Tanned, rested and ready, and drinking water at Segra baby.
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