June for Loudoun United has been a slightly mixed bag, while the downside has even had some encouraging results. Now as the team’s game Sunday is the halfway point of their 2022 USL Championship campaign, and the team has two weeks off before hitting the back part of their season running with four of their next five at home, tonight they get the chance to extend their winning streak at home to a modest three games, with the chance to leap a couple of places in the standings to get within a point of tonight’s opponent, FC Tulsa.
Key player: Abdellatif Aboukoura
We’re all rightfully cheering what D.C.’s U-16 side did yesterday in the MLS Next Cup, but on a related note, this was June for the 17-year-old Egyptian:
This will get touched upon a little more soon, but while this is a highlight reel of his work, pay particular attention to the things he does off the ball. I keep going back to something Sami Guediri said of his pass that set up Aboukoura’s first goal against Phoenix, that the run dictated the pass, and if he can find that space now for shots and free up short and long passing, that’s hugely encouraging for his pro chances.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: With U-20 games just wrapping up and the U-16s enjoying that win, a mostly Loudoun/D.C. centric lineup, emphasis on mostly Loudoun since D.C. has a game tomorrow. Jeremy Garay should be back, with Jacob Greene and Gaoussou Samaké joining as loan downs, and Greene the most likely starter. Missing Joe Rice today, the team will have homegrown Dane Jacomen likely backing up Luis Zamudio. Jacomen was loaned to the Charlotte Independence for some time recently and took a shellacking (giving up seven goals in one game), but Charlotte appears to be a chore to get organized so he can focus on things here for a minute.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Jalen Robinson, Carson Vom Steeg, Grant Lillard; Greene, Nicky Downs, Houssou Landry, Abdoul Zanne; Aboukoura, Skage Simonsen, Michael Gamble
Bench: Jacome, Samaké, Rio Hope-Gund, Garay, Azaad Liadi, Tyler Freeman, Kristian Fletcher
Key Tulsa player/former D.C. players: J.J. Williams
Not really a player, but former coach Michael Nsien was apparently a subject of D.C. interest before they settled with Hernan Losada (Nsein’s contract was not renewed, and former MLS goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is the interim gaffer). Williams enjoyed some breakout success with the Birmingham Legion between stints with Atlanta United and Columbus Crew SC before moving to Tulsa and leads the team in goals (8), assists (2), shots (41), and created chances (14), and will get a lot of attention from either Vom Steeg or Lillard today.
Referee: Wes Caouette
Available Streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Between the small Covid outbreak at my oldest’s class (and the 101 fever he and I shared last night), tea and electrolytes for me at home.
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