Sometimes one can only shrug and give appropriate respect to a club when they are as well-honed as the one Loudoun United faced in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh, whom they’ve been unable to get a bead on for their existence. Moreover, independent USL clubs have to handle the rigors of things like multiple competitions while MLS owned and operated clubs deal with last-minute roster shuffles and fielding a group of kids on the field at times. Tonight’s opponent for Loudoun is another independent whom they haven’t played before in Sacramento Republic FC, but one whose aspirations for MLS have been flirtations in the past and, most recently, are coming off a disappointing loss to Orlando City in the US Open Cup final, a competition which Loudoun will never (ever?) have the chance to contend for, so long as there’s a D.C. United living and breathing. But they do get the timing benefit, such as it is, of facing a wounded or even weary Sacramento side at their home field with the chance of keeping them in their funk and possibly staving off elimination from postseason contention.
player concept: Take little for granted.
Sacramento’s schedule after Loudoun are with Orange County, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, LA 2 and San Diego. In speaking with Jalen Robinson after last week, he’s aware of Les Indomitables being ready for this, how ready they’ll be remains to be seen, and they’ll be aware that tonight with Loudoun who has a full week of rest, that this screams a trap game. There are enough weapons here for Loudoun to steal it for sure, but if it slips, coach Mark Briggs will bring on the big guns.
Location: Heart Health Park (Sacramento, CA)
Kickoff time: 10:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: As usual, Jeremy Garay, Jacob Greene, Gaoussou Samaké, and Hayden Sargis made this trip *touches ear, I’m told Sargis did not make the trip, having been loaned to Phoenix for the rest of the season. Along with that, Joe Rice, who dealt with injury early in the season and was shelled in his scarce Loudoun appearances, has been loaned to Detroit City for the rest of the season. It would seem like some decisions are being made already, and based on Phoenix coach Juan Guerra’s comments on the acquisition, Phoenix may make a play for the 20-year-old, particularly if no fit can be made with D.C. The loandowns are easy to figure, and with Sargis moved, I presume Greene moves back to right back also. Expect a homegrown heavy contingent with Dane Jacomen, Isaac Espinal, Abdellatif Aboukoura, Kristian Fletcher and Gavin Turner.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Greene, Robinson (C), Carson Vom Steeg, Samaké; Garay, Nicky Downs; Abdoul Zanne, Skage Simonsen, Kristian Fletcher; Tyler Freeman
Bench: Jacomen, Houssou Landry, Zoumana Diarra, Turner, Jonathan Benteke, Aboukoura, Espinal
Key Sacramento player/former D.C. players: Er, yes?
Remember Deshorn Brown? He’s here, and onetime D.C. trialist Duke Lacroix plays in back for Sacramento as far as D.C. connections go, but the Indomitable folks dealt with rotation and a road game at Louisville last Saturday and stayed on the East Coast to train and trotted their studs out Wednesday, and arrived in SacTown 24 hours before Loudoun did. So it remains to be seen whether they get a breather. Rodrigo Lopez up front and Danny Vitello in net are ones to watch if the first choice players want to get back in the swing of things tonight.
Referee: Alyssa Nichols
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: Found some distro sours from Burley Oak and Mortalis, so dessert during the footy.
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