Granted, it’s a low bar to climb, but Loudoun United leads the three Eastern Conference MLS2 teams in the standings with 18 points (LA Galaxy II, who Loudoun beat when Loudoun was last at Segra, has 32 points and near the red line in the Western Conference), with the New York Red Bulls II with 12, and Atlanta United II comes to town with a chance to leapfrog Loudoun in points and table position with a win tonight. It is going to be tough for them, coming into this being winless in nine straight games and leading the USL in conceded goals with 68 (Loudoun has 47, for what it’s worth). And while ATL2 beat Loudoun a couple of months ago, most of the game was in question and the first goal was the result of some questionable officiating. So they come to Leesburg with a Loudoun team looking for revenge and to separate themselves from their opposition both in the game and on the table.
player concept: Parlaying the moral victory into an actual one.
Sure, last week’s 2-1 loss to San Antonio may have been expected by a lot of people, and Loudoun’s goal was scored by a D.C. loandown in Moses Nyeman, but in pressing the League leaders to the limit only to be thwarted by a offside call for a second-half stoppage time goal, they handled things pretty well on the road on short turnaround. Using that performance coming back home to Segra, most of those players should start tonight, with the welcome injection of some returning players and having more than a week to recharge, Ryan Martin should have them expect three points from this game, particularly with several consecutive games against teams ahead of them (at Tulsa, at Memphis, home vs. Pittsburgh) coming up.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: The D.C. quartet (Jeremy Garay, Jacob Greene, Hayden Sargis, and Gaoussou Samaké) return for tonight’s game, and former D.C. Academy player Jean-Christophe Koffi (signed by the team last week following his stints with the New York Red Bulls, Memphis 901 and French third division side Championnat National) should be available today. Ignacio Alem and Abdellatif Aboukoura return from MLS Next Pro and U-20 Arab Cup festivities, respectively, while Gavin Turner and Matai Akinmboni are away with the United States U-16 and U-17 programs (respectively), and Kristian Fletcher is away, presumably (and completely speculating!) finalizing his reported homegrown deal with D.C. United.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Greene, Jalen Robinson, Carson Vom Steeg, Samaké; Nicky Downs, Garay; Aboukoura, Skage Simonsen, Zoumana Diarra; Abdoul Zanne
Bench: Jacomen, Sargis, Landry Houssou, Koffi, Tyler Freeman, Isaac Espinal, Alem
Key ATL player/former D.C. players: Jackson Conway
Sure, Raimar scored both goals in their win over Loudoun and earned Player of the Week recognition in the process, but Conway leads the team in goals with 6 with Tristan Trager, and has more than twice the number of shots of anyone else on the roster. And if Raimar is able to get some crosses into the Loudoun area, Conway is going to be tough to handle.
Referee: Alexandra Billeter
Available Streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Segra water during the game, Humble Forager, or Southern Grist sours after.
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