It feels like a bunch of time has past since Loudoun and Pittsburgh got together to scrap for points in second division soccer, and it turns out it has; Loudoun went to Hahntown, played the hosts tightly, and it took a brace from former D.C. flirtation Dane Kelly coming on as a sub to grab a 2-0 win. And not many teams can tout an all-time league-leading goal scorer to come on in a tight spot to win a game for you, not much you can do about it. As I’ll get to momentarily, Loudoun knows what Pittsburgh is capable of and time and time again it’s not happened for them. Weirdly, it feels like this could swing differently.
player concept: Do more of what got them three points Wednesday, with a twist.
For those who saw Wednesday’s game, this is not to say that Loudoun will play anti-soccer or whatever, but Ryan Martin is acutely aware of what Bob Lilley and Pittsburgh can do, as the Hounds have won nine of ten all-time matches with Loudoun. The Hounds have a bunch of guys that can score goals, combined with a defense whose stoutness even in a “down” year is still tough to crack. Loudoun has what may be one of their more diverse attacking groups so that could pose challenges for the Hounds, so maybe sneaking a goal or two is there more than it has been.
Location: Segra Field (Leesburg, VA)
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: Jeremy Garay, Jacob Greene, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Hayden Sargis, and Gaoussou Samaké all comedown tonight after appearing in Wednesday’s win. D.C.’s newest homegrown signing Kristian Fletcher comes back tonight, and he sees a new/familiar name next to him tonight, as Christian Benteke’s brother Jonathan has been added to Loudoun’s roster following Pablo Maurer’s report of his signing. Gavin Turner and Abdellatif Aboukoura add the Academy contingent along with alum Dane Jacomen, who’ll be backing up Luis Zamudio per usual.
Starters: Zamudio; Sargis, Nicky Downs, Jalen Robinson, Samaké; Houssou Landry, Garay; Greene, Skage Simonsen, Abdoul Zanne; Tyler Freeman
Bench: Jacomen, Carson Vom Steeg, Fletcher, Benteke, Aboukoura, Turner, Ku-DiPietro
Key Pittsburgh player/former D.C. players: Kenardo Forbes
Pittsburgh has been uncharacteristically demure in their recent results; since a July 9 4-1 home thumping of Miami FC, Pittsburgh’s lost one game in eight, but three of those are draws, and a fourth was stopped by former Loudoun defender Shane Wiedt scoring a 94th minute winner. Their defense is still formidable, with 10 clean sheets earning a 5th place league position, including a midweek scoreless draw with Charleston. The good news is Loudoun played Memphis and Parker Malloy Wednesday so the muscle memory to shut down a playmaker is there, but Forbes is a League mainstay for chance creation, and everyone will need to be dialed in.
Referee: Abdou Ndiaye
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, if I can find a spot that’s open after, that’s where I’ll be.
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