In retrospect, Memphis was a weird confluence of firsts for Loudoun United, the first goal in team history was scored there by Griffin Yow in 2019, and Loudoun scored the first goal in the USL Championship’s 2022 season when they beat Indy Eleven. Saturday they came out blazing, scoring two early goals and mad them stick en route to a 3-1 win over the Bluff City folks.
Three Things I Liked
The Zach Ryan show
Zach seems like a smart kid (I mean, he DID go to Stanford!), but he was doing a lot Saturday. His first goal was a deflection off a defender, his backheel assist to Tommy Williamson was pretty flippin’ sweet. But then you have his work on the clinching goal deep in the game, laying it back to Jeremy Garay and then hustling to finish:
We should talk about Hugo
(I listened to too much damn Encanto when my oldest was younger) Hugo Fauroux was a surprise (for me) start after dealing with a preseason injury, and after a 2022 with Charleston where his metrics had him at or near bottom for players last season, but he made a couple of big saves (including late in second half stoppage on Dylan Borczak) when it was still a one goal game and save for a first half deflection that almost leveled things looked good and perhaps gives Ryan Martin two keepers to rely on going forward.
A couple of other honorable mentions
Snap decisions and hot takes after the first game, but Koa Santos and Kalil ElMedkhar were deprived of the scoresheet due to a sketchy (at best) offside call between Loudoun’s first and second goals. Santos ran a ton and provided contributions in both halves of the field, but ElMedkhar was credited with an assist on Ryan’s first goal, created three chances opposite Memphis’ Aaron Molloy, and had a tackle, two clearances and three interceptions, interchanging with Gaoussou Samake very well. ElMedkhar and fellow former Philadelphia Union homegrown Cole Turner looked very impressive, with the former potentially being another in an ongoing series of smart signings by Martin.
One Concern I Have
Loudoun had an early second half miss from Houssou Landry and then after that, didn’t register a shot until Ryan’s goal.
Check This Stat
Even with Ryan’s night, he logged a 0.18 Goals Added and Turner added 0.17. By comparison, Skage Simonsen logged a 0.3 GA
Loudoun United 3 – Memphis 901 FC 1
LDN – Thomas Williamson (Zach Ryan) 8’
LDN – Zach Ryan (Kalil ElMedkhar) 11’
MEM – Laurent Kissiedou (Bruno Lapa) 37’
LDN – Zach Ryan (Abdoul Zanne) 90+4’
MEM – Akeem Ward (caution) 41’
MEM – Luiz Fernando (caution) 47’
MEM – Stephen Glass (dissent) 47’
LDN – Panos Armenakas (caution) 49’
LDN – Houssou Landry (dissent) 63’
MEM – Laurent Kissiedou (violent conduct) 63’
MEM – Graham Smith (caution) 71’