When the No. 1 McDonogh boys soccer team hosts No. 2 Loyola in today's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference showdown, there will be plenty of dynamic talent on both sides capable of putting a stamp on the game.

The question?

Who steps up?

Loyola, defending league champs who came away with two 1-0 wins over McDonogh in the regular season last year, has midfielder Gavin Barger, while the host Eagles answer with George Campbell. 


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Who wins the midfield battle will go a long way in deciding the outcome.

The Eagles, who have outscored opponents 11-0 in starting the season at 5-0, also boast Connor Smith and Ermuse Momoh.

For Loyola, Ryan Conrad and Riley Collins, who provided the game-winning goals in the two wins against McDonogh last season, are also back.  The Dons are off to a 5-2 start, but will be looking to rebound after Wednesday's loss to upstart St. Paul's.

"It's always a great game because there's always so many good players on the field," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "We're very similar in that we both keep the ball very well and have good technical payers.  It will come down to which guys sticks out."

Game time is set for 4 p.m. in Owings Mills.