Loudoun United had been talking about a 90 minute effort and realizing such a thing and for their wanting, they got one Saturday, defeating Birmingham Legion 3-0 in front of a reported 2,505 at Segra Field. And for as solid a win as it was, it could have been more, with a couple of near misses and a great stop that kept things competitive in the first half. But they’ll take the dub and move forward to bigger and better things over the next couple of weeks.
One thing I liked
There’s really nothing bad to point to! Let me list them:
- Kalil ElMedkhar was a terror all afternoon, finally opening his USL Championship account with a well deserved goal and could have had one more, and he relinquishes the actual versus expected goals wooden spoon (to Birmingham’s Juan Agudelo coincidentally).
- Wesley Leggett’s first League start results in his first goal and his second consecutive game with a goal after last week’s Open Cup win over North Carolina FC. His boxcar numbers like shots, shots on target are equal to Tommy Williamson in about half the time but he does bring an added dimension to the attack that helps make him dangerous and did so Saturday.
- Hugo Fauroux was between the pipes for the Open Cup win and logged his first clean sheet of the season. Early days but he’s been a pleasant surprise.
- Zach Ryan’s return to the lineup in League play sees him log the Gordie Howe hat-trick with a yellow, an assist, and a goal, the latter of which is his fourth (fifth counting the Open Cup), and keeps him amongst the League Leaders.
What were the reactions?
Glad you asked!
Ryan Martin: “It was a complete performance for the whole game. I thought we were obviously much better at finishing our chances, and our movement and spacing. We’re improved and I enjoyed watching our guys, they are out there competing, working, they’re doing it for each other.”
(On if he expected this game Saturday): “I knew we had it in us, but I didn’t know we’d put it together. When we put a game together and we had allcylinders firing we were capable of scoring a lot of goals. For us it was even tougher because they’re such a good opponent and it’s more enjoyable because they are so good. Hats off to our guys for going after it.”
(On ElMedkhar and Leggett’s games and first goals): “We sense it coming and felt bad (ElMedkhar’s) goal in Memphis got taken back, but he’s been getting in really good spots and he’s been more composed and you saw a composed finish. Wes is able to run in behind people and get in really good positions, his movement and runs in the box are really dangerous, he creates a lot of problems stretching teams in behind.”
(On going forward): “We’ll revisit when we come back to training this week and can we get better for Oakland, there’s no easy opponents in this League. So for me, it’s a process, we were really good in some spots tonight but we haver to clean up some things and continue to grow, and that’s what a 34 game season is.”
Hugo Fauroux: “It’s a lot of new players to get time to get to know each other. Now we have five, six games in, we definitely know each other better. Anyone that comes in to work for the team, best game of the year so far against a very good team, I was very happy to get the clean sheet, we fought until the last minute.”
(On any differences working with Bryce Washington and Yanis Leerman after Cole Turner’s injury): “I’ll tell you right now, there’s no difference because Bryce has stepped up big time and he’s so good, Yanis has been amazing. We miss Cole, we miss Kwame (Awuah), we miss Alex Nagy, but any time we’ve had injuries, the guys have stepped up, and Bryce was one of the best on the field today.”
Wesley Leggett: “Everyone had a great shift, this was the most complete game we had from start to end, we were just phenomenal today, I got a beautful ball from Koa (Santos) and just got to the right spot. I’m just happy for the result.”
Kalil ElMedkhar: “I was telling everyone it was less joy and more relief. No, it’s a good win, I’m happy to be on the scoresheet, but I think I’m more focused on the performance from everybody, you can go around the backline, middle and up top and it was just an amazing performance.”
(On where to go next): “It’s riding that high but not getting complacent. I think we all believe that we can consistently put in performances like that, maybe some people are surprised by it. But for us, we’ve expected that if we were all on, we could get a performance like that.”
Zach Ryan: “The focus coming into tonight was to put together a full performance, (and) we were proud of not just the result but the way we went about it.”
(On any differences working with Leggett and Williamson): “No matter what the starting XI is, the job for everyone is to go out on the field and compete. I thought Wes did a great job, he was an absolute handful for the center backs and then Tommy came on and was really unlucky not to score as well. No matter which way we shuffle around, any of us are going to be dangerous.”
One Thing I Laughed At
In retrospect mind you, but this early first half flubbed clearance would have made for a great Not Top 10 highlight:
Check This Stat
8 – The number of shots on target Loudoun had on the game (they had 19 total). Birmingham had 7 total shots.
Loudoun United FC 3 – Birmingham Legion FC 0
LDN – Wesley Leggett (Koa Santos) 32′
LDN – Kalil ElMedkhar (Zach Ryan) 42′
LDN – Zach Ryan (Kalil ElMedkhar) 69′
LDN – Houssou Landry (bad foul) 50′
BHM – Jake Rufe (bad foul) 54′
LDN – Aidan Rocha (bad foul) 81′
LDN – Zach Ryan (bad foul) 90+4′
Loudoun United FC starting lineup (4-3-3):
Starting XI: Hugo Fauroux, Koa Santos, Yanis Leerman, Bryce Washington, Gaoussou Samake, Panos Armenakas (Jeremy Garay, 81′), Houssou Landry (Abdoul Koanda, 81′), Juan Ramirez (Aidan Rocha, 65′), Kalil ElMedkhar (Abdoul Zanne, 75′), Zach Ryan, Wesley Leggett (Tommy Williamson, 85′)
Unused Substitutes: Dane Jacomen, Daniel Chica
Birmingham Legion FC starting lineup (4-3-3):
Starting XI: Trevor Spangenberg, Moses Mensah (Enzo Martinez, 45′), Phanuel Kavita, Alex Cragnole, Collin Smith (Jake Rufe, 45′), Matthew Corcoran (Ben Reveno, 63′), Anderson Asiedu, Juan Agudelo, Prosper Kasim (Diba Nwegbo, 72′), Gabriel Alves, Neco Brett
Unused Substitutes: Seth Torman, Grayson Dupont