It’s one thing for Loudoun to go up against a Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay, independent sides that have been around for a bit and are able to handle the Red-and-White fairly easily. It’s another when a team like Hartford does it. Hartford gave them their first loss at “home” when they beat Loudoun at Audi Field in 2019 after Hartford went winless in their first 10 games; 2020 saw Loudoun play Hartford four times, all on the road, all losses, including a game where Loudoun blew a two-goal lead in the last five minutes. 2021 saw Loudoun lead Hartford until a lightning delay stopped the remaining few minutes, where they allowed a 95th minute goal to lose to Hartford, and later in the season an 81st minute own-goal resulted in another loss. Hartford’s seen several coaches in their time and tonight, their fourth is a name familiar to many as they come to Leesburg, with former United States national team player Tab Ramos heading up the other end of the bench while Ryan Martin tries to stop the bleeding against the club.
player concept: Stay frosty for what’s coming
Hartford is clicking on a few things at the moment (more on them in a bit), and so Loudoun will likely deal with a couple wrinkles of their own (more on them shorter than that), with loan downs that will likely make their shape a little out of sorts, so they’re going to need to be ready immediately. Both sides are eliminated from the playoffs so at the moment, Hartford is auditioning for the new boss and is going to want to show off, and Loudoun will have to be ready and plan for the slightly small sample size of video they have of the Ramos-coached side there is.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Jeremy Garay is down the road in Fairfax with El Salvador’s National Team as they get ready to play Peru so he’ll be unavailable, but Jacob Greene and Kristian Fletcher should. Thanks to this photo, it looks like Ted Ku-DiPietro and Makai Akinmboni are with the team and should be in consideration too. Past that? well, Loudoun plays tonight and Sunday before D.C. get to play again, so we could see other guys (Kimarni Smith? Tony Alfaro?) get some time, so we’ll see what becomes of that.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Greene, Jalen Robinson, Carson Vom Steeg, Rio Hope-Gund; Houssou Landry, Nicky Downs; Fletcher, Ku-DiPietro, Abdoul Zanne; Tyler Freeman
Bench: Dane Jacomen, Akinmboni, Smith, Skage Simonsen, Azaad Liadi, Zoumana Diarra, Gavin Turner
Key Hartford player/former D.C. players: Danny Barrera
Coaches may come and go in Hartford’s brief history, but Barrera remains a dangerous constant, and leads the team in created chances (55) and assists (5). Former LAFC forward Peter-Lee Vassell is with the club now, as is longtime Charlotte Independence player Joel Johnson. Ramos has coached the last two games (both wins) and the team is unbeaten in the last five, winning four. And despite a side with goalkeeper Yaniik Oettl and forward Ariel Martinez make the most recent Team of the Week, Barrera is absolutely the one to watch for this Hartford side.
Referee: Danielle Chesky
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, probably grab something from Mortalis and/or Other Half after at the local gas station.
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