Predicted XI: Loudoun United FC – U.S. Open Cup

The Columbus Crew travels to Leesburg, Virginia to take on Loudoun United FC, a USL Championship side, in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32. Columbus defeated Indy Eleven 1-0 in the third round of the Open Cup, playing more regular starters than many predicted. 

After a grueling three-match week, the Crew was off last weekend. This came at a good time for Columbus as center backs Milos Degenek and Steven Moreira and attacking midfielder Alexandru Matan all came out of the last match against Inter Miami with a knock. Head coach Wilfried Nancy indicated that Matan and Moreira were progressing well and could be fit, but that Degenek still had some pain.

Nancy will need to make decisions on how to incorporate freshness in his team across four games in 11 days. While Nancy surprised many fans after playing forward Cucho Hernandez against Indy, as well as a couple other starters, a heavily rotated lineup is expected as the team plays away in the Open Cup on Wednesday. 

Here is who we believe will start the match against Loudoun United:

Goalkeeper Eloy Room was not sighted on the training field by the media on Tuesday as he continues to recover from an injury. Nancy has decided to rely on youngster Patrick Schulte in MLS matches but will field the older Evan Bush once again for the Open Cup. The veteran brings experience to what might be a younger backline. 

Center back Philip Quinton will anchor the team in the middle of the backline with Gustavo Vallecilla to his left while Keegan Hughes plays as the right center back. With Degenek and Moreira recovering from injuries, it would be a surprise to see either in this lineup with three MLS matches the following week. 

Jake Morris will occupy the left midfielder position. Morris played well last season with Crew 2 as a left wing back. Yaw Yeboah has played primarily as a left wing back when deployed closer to the goal, but this match will see Yeboah as a right midfielder. Instead of playing as an inverted wing back, playing on the right flank will allow Yeboah to play wider which should be more comfortable for the Ghanaian. 

Both young central midfielders Isaiah Parente and Sean Zawadzki will get the starting nod from Nancy in the midfield. Both players had a good match with minimal mistakes against Indy Eleven, but they will be without the safety net of the captain Darlington Nagbe on Wednesday. Without Nagbe, much more responsibility will be on the young midfielders. 

It would be a surprise to see either Hernandez or playmaker Lucas Zelarayan for this game. Although Nancy did start Hernandez in the last Open Cup Cup match, this was more to get him fitness after coming back from an extended injury absence. Matan will anchor the attack with forwards Christian Ramirez and Jacen Russell-Rowe in a front three.

One thought on “Predicted XI: Loudoun United FC – U.S. Open Cup

  1. I sincerely hope this lineup or something like this is what we’ll see tonight. I read that the playing surface at Loudoun Utd is very poor. Anyone who has an injury concern shouldn’t even make this trip. Further, Loudoun is 7th in the USL Championship East. We shouldn’t need to take any risks or use our first team to win this match.

    I understand why we used the mix of players we did against Indy Eleven. We were at home. We have a safe, excellent surface. We wanted to use players who were returning from injury. We weren’t facing a congested schedule at that time. The circumstances are different in all of those areas now.


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