Live Blog: Oakland Roots at Loudoun United (April 23, 2023)

Hello and welcome to the blog’s coverage of Oakland Roots visiting Loudoun United, coming to you live from the Golden Squirrel in Rockridge. Roots look to get back on track after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Hartford Athletic last week, while Loudoun is flying high after a big 3-0 victory over Birmingham Legion.

It’s tough to say what we’re getting from Loudoun. Oakland defeated them 4-1 in its only meeting last season, which was the first win of former coach Juan Guerra’s career. Loudoun finished last season 11th in the Eastern Conference at 8-4-22 with 36 goals scored and 74 allowed, but the club sold majority ownership to Attain Sports and Entertainment back in February, seemingly breathing new life into the organization.

Loudoun already has 1/4 of last year’s wins at 2-1-2, seven goals scored and six conceded. Zach Ryan is absolutely tearing things up right now with four goals and two assists, while Kalil ElMedkhar has one goal and two assists. Tommy Williamson and Wesley Leggett have individual goals.

For Oakland, the news coming into the match is Johnny Rodriguez being ruled out with a lower body injury, meaning Anuar Pelaez will likely get a full 90 minutes. Scroll down for my full reaction on the starting 11, all of tonight’s key moments, and we’ll close the day with RootsBlog MOTM and a batch of initial takeaways.

Key Events

  • Loudoun goal – 30′

Zach Ryan scores at the spot following a high boot by Oakland.

  • Oakland Roots Starting 11

Anuar Pelaez gets the start with Johnny out of the lineup. Napo Matsoso returns to the midfield following a brief leave due to personal reasons, while Irakoze Donasiyano is back alongside him. Darek Formella is on the left with Lindo Mfeka on the right, as expected. On the back line from left to right is Danny Barbir, Tarek Morad in the middle, and Emrah Klimenta on the right. Memo Diaz on the left and Tamacas at right back.

No Edgardo Rito in the 18-man lineup, who just had a newborn baby. He’ll be fresh for a potential Open Cup appearance on Wednesday, if he’s back in time. Hard to say when Ottar Magnus Karlsson missed time last year after having a babe. Neveal Hackshaw is on the subs, so he’ll be more likely to be in the Open Cup.

  • Loudoun United Starting 11

Initial Takeaways

  • A performance eerily similar to the 2-1 loss to Hartford. The numbers are almost the same; Oakland finished Sunday’s game with 14 shots, 1 on target and 7 corners on Loudoun, similarly having 15 shots, 2 on target, and 13 corners against Hartford. Bryan Tamacas’ shot on target in the 10th minute was the only look at goal. It was a dreadful performance.
  • Thank god for Paul. Without him, it could’ve easily been 5-0 for Loudoun, stopping several breakaways in transition for the home side.
  • Roots gave nothing to feel confident about going into U.S. Open Cup. Taking bad losses to two of last year’s worst Eastern Conference teams isn’t a good look, but the inability to create scoring opportunities is even more of a eyebrow-raiser. It’s going to be an interesting week.
  • Anuar Pelaez struggling to get going. He’s yet to get on the score sheet and struggled to make a difference, albeit a lack of service. Anuar finished with 21 touches against Loudoun, only had 12 touches versus Indy Eleven, and 19 against New Mexico.


  • GAMETIME! Can Oakland Roots get back on track on the road in Virginia? It’ll be a tough task against a surging Loudoun side.

  • Formella cross targetting Pelaez claimed – 3′

  • Roots corner – 8′

    Cleared out quickly.

  • Tamacas shot on target saved – 10′

    No one there to clean it up.

  • Play to Lindo, unstable shot goes wide – 11′

  • Donasiyano draws free kick – 12′

    Formella skies shot.

  • PAUL HUGE SAVE – 15′

    Bad giveaway from Emrah on miscommunication with Morad. Good recovery from the defense, but a critical diving save by Paul The Wall.

  • Koze nearly feeds Formella, called offside – 19′

  • Paul another huge save -20′

    Ball won off of Donasiyano, Paul with a diving save. Too many giveaways early.

  • Huge defensive stop by Barbir – 25′

    Stops a near-scoring opportunity.

  • Loudoun free kick – 27′

    Eventually falls to Blanchette, but Formella called for a high boot.

  • Loudoun PK – 30′

    Zach Ryan scores. Roots trail.

  • Roots corner – 35′

    Leads to another corner

    Roots corner – 36′


  • Lindo shot trails wide – 41′

  • Roots corner – 42′

    Foul called on Pelaez. Shot attempt by Pelaez went off foot and straight into air.

  • First half notes:

    Not impressive from Roots, giving up a weak penalty kick makes things worse. It’s a similar performance to the Hartford match; Oakland has 8 shots with just 1 on target and 1 big scoring opportunity. Loudoun has 5 shots with 3 on target.

  • Koze shot very wide – 53′

    First offensive action thus far for Roots’ in the latter 45 minutes.

  • Loudoun goal – 58′

    Beautiful goal by Panagiotis Armenakas, wraps his left foot around it perfectly. Loudoun has been on the front foot this whole time.

  • Loudoun free kick – 63′

    Claimed by Paul.

  • Oakland free kick – 64′

    Pelaez draws a free kick right at the top of the area after ball over top. Lindo shot goes into the fall.

  • Pelaez ran through and no call – 68′

    Open look after ball centered. Leads to a corner.

  • Roots corner – 68′

    Header by Pelaez sails.

  • Roots draw another corner – 70′


  • Reid, Hackshaw, and Nane coming on for Lindo, Emrah, and Napo – 71′

  • Paul big save after another bad giveaway – 72′

  • Reid dribbles into area on left end, goes down by no call – 77′

  • Roots free ick good area – 78′

    Leads to nothing, starts counter.

  • Loudoun shot on target – 79′

  • Loudoun hits crossbar – 87′

  • Murray for Tamacas – 88′

  • Roots corner – 90′

    Leads to nothing.

  • Paul another big stop, 1-o-1 – 90+1′

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