I imagine that when one goes from a 3-0 road loss last week to a 1-0 home loss this week, aside from it being less of a loss that one could say that it’s still the same result, right? Well there were a lot of things at play, including some prioritizing, which allowed this to be an encouraging step for Loudoun and for Ryan Martin.
Two Things I Liked
Given the roster, this had to happen.
Compared to last week when Loudoun got roped, they learned about a couple of players. With Zach Ryan, Cole Turner, Houssou Landry and Hugo Fauroux all out, Dane Jacomen got another start at home, where his only goal was due to a defensive breakdown, Jeremy Garay got 80 minutes of his usual solid, quiet self, Yanis Leerman (at fault for not picking up the run) stepped up, winning 11 of 13 duels and he and new starter Bryce Washington did fell afterwards, and Wesley Leggett gave Colorado problems up front.
This was presumably done because, well, there’s an Open Cup game Wednesday. I saw Ryan on the concourse and he looked OK, but I didn’t see anyone else (I hope to ask about this Tuesday). If rotation was the name of the game as I think it was, a one goal loss where you won the xG battle against a tough, veteran-rich Switchbacks side is nothing to sneeze at. Along with that…
Kalil El Medhkar stepped up.
It was great that with Ryan out that El Medhkar decided he wanted to get in on the action, and his work with Tommy Williamson allowed him to get three shots on target, almost half of the team’s seven (they had 14 total Saturday). Getting someone to be confident enough to keep firing shots, especially when your presumed attack focus is out, is encouraging, and while he’s done it before, I feel like he felt the urge to get closer to goal than before, and were it not for Christian Herrera’s great save, would have gotten his first goal of 2023, instead of being a guy with horrible bad luck.
Two Concerns I have
Games are 90 Minutes
A couple of weeks ago, the team talked about the need to be plugged in for the second half of games, but now the team should maybe talk about the need to be plugged in the whole game. A small breakdown of the last four goals this team has given up? Two in stoppage time, one in the first minute of the second half, and yesterday’s in the first five minutes of the first. It’s a slightly different set of headaches, but given that the team played well, and could have come back to get something after this make a goal like that a disappointment.
Look, there’s a horse on the logo, but even if they may subconsciously be moving alway from the “Let’s Ride” moniker of the last few years, lean into the kitsch of having a mini-horse with costume wings, OK? I mean, NEIGH-Mar is right there!!!!
I kid, but on a mildly serious note, between their home opener of 3,411 fans and Saturday’s 2,379, you have a fifth of Loudoun’s total attendance in 2022 proper (which was also the most they’ve brought in). With almost half of their remaining home games having kickoffs before 7pm, there’s no reason to think they can’t continue the uptick, particularly if the onfield product improves.
Check this Stat
-1.23 – A measure of the actual versus expected goal total of El Medkhar, currently last in the USL (via ASA). The Top (er, bottom) 10 of that category include a former United States National Team player, a pair of 20-goal scorers from 2021 and 2022 and a separate pair of 10-goal scorers from 2022.
Colorado Springs 1 – Loudoun United FC 0
COS – Romario Williams (Deshane Beckford) 5′
COS – Christian Herrera (dissent) 19′
LDN – Gaoussou Samake (bad foul) 44′
Loudoun United FC starting lineup (4-3-3):
Starting XI: Dane Jacomen, Koa Santos, Yanis Leerman, Bryce Washington, Gaoussou Samake, Panos Armenakas, Aidan Rocha, Jeremy Garay (Juan Ramirez, 80′), Kalil ElMedkhar, Tommy Williamson, Wesley Leggett (Abdoul Zanne, 62′)
Unused Substitutes: Drew Hartman, Abdoul Koanda, Daniel Chica, Isaac Espinal
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Starting XI: Christian Herrera, Markhus Lacroix, Macauley King, Matt Mahoney, Devon Williamson, Patrick Seagrist, Deshane Beckford (Dennis Erdmann, 80′), Steven Echevarria, Drew Skundrich, Maalique Foster, Romario Williams (Jairo Henriquez, 68′)
Unused Substitutes: Joe Kuzminsky, James Ockford, Aaron Wheeler, James Musa, Dillon Clarke