Loudoun tries to stop the skid and slay a beast.
Saturday’s game with Loudoun and Hartford has a couple of circumstantial and narrative things going on, the types of things that could potentially get in players’ heads. In past years, you couldn’t fault Loudoun for being among the USL bottom dwellers, but they’ve started well in 2022. The problem is they’ve been falling fast, with a six-game winless streak. But they’re about to play the League’s last winless team and it seems like a slam dunk, right?
Well, the USL’s last winless team is Hartford Athletic, with one draw and six losses in their first seven games, and five goals gives them the second lowest in the league. They’ve played five of those first seven games on the road, and like Loudoun, have played Pittsburgh, Miami and Indy Eleven also. More than that in Loudoun’s quick history, Hartford has been a bugaboo of an opponent, with the Red-and-White winless in 10 games against them (0-9-1). They’ve lost in blowouts, they’ve given up leads, they’ve lost games deep into stoppage time. Any way you could use to a team, Loudoun appears to have done so.
So to recap, Loudoun hasn’t won a game in six, Hartford hasn’t won in seven, and Loudoun hasn’t beaten Hartford in ten. Something, somewhere, has gotta give.
player concept: Stay engaged, respond if smacked
Ryan Martin noted after the loss to El Paso that he did not like the team’s response after allowing the tying goal (and it was borne out in the running xG totals), and he’ll have an acute sense of the environment and the home side he’ll be playing, and while they’re down a couple of attacking pieces due to various reasons, he’s going to do what he can to keep their attention span high.
Location: Trinity Health Stadium (Hartford, CT)
Kickoff time: 7:00 pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. United is loaning: With his absence to a red card last week, Hayden Sargis returns, and the backline behind the first three Loudoun games returns for the first time. Jacob Greene and Jeremy Garay appear as usual, and Kimarni Smith may appear for D.C. with Nigel Robertha’s status up in the air. This hurts Loudoun to an extent, as Azaad Liadi received a late red card for violent conduct so he’ll miss today’s game and next week at Detroit.
Starters: Luis Zamudio; Rio Hope-Gund (C), Sargis, Grant Lillard; Greene, Nicky Downs, Garay, Gaoussou Samaké; Sami Guediri, Michael Gamble, Zoumana Diarra
Bench: Joe Rice, Carson Vom Steeg, Jace Clark, Houssou Landry, Skage Simonsen, Abdoul Zanne, Isaac Espinal
Key Hartford player/former D.C. players: Danny Barrera
The other Christian Gomez remains in Hartford (I mean they’re not related but I felt like reaching), but past that Barrera has long been a thorn in Loudoun’s side. He led the league in assists last year (12) and is among the top assist leaders in the USL Championship’s life. Barrera will get to work with Ariel Martinez and the 2nd highest goal scorer in USL Championship history in the recently signed Corey Hertzog, and with the home side behind them they’re going to be dangerous.
Referee: Thomas Snyder
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: I was healthy Sunday but am sick 6 days later, so whatever electrolytes I can find.
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