Loudoun United went to Al Lang stadium to play the Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay Rowdies, and did so with a couple of new wrinkles to the roster, with Griffin Yow now officially a D.C. United homegrown player, and Earl Edwards Jr. being a late loan to Loudoun. The 27-year-old goalkeeper, acquired in the offseason from Orlando City SC, started in place of Calle Brown after overcoming a groin injury to start the year.
In addition to Edwards, D.C. Academy product Alexxon Saravia made his first start for Loudoun, as did Shinya Kadono, who replaced the injured D.C. homegrown/loanee Antonio Bustamante in midfield. The first half saw Loudoun attempt to battle the Rowdies’ 3-5-2 press and they were generally composed. Save for an occasional turnover, and sometimes combined with play by Edwards to clear a mistake, the first half was scoreless, and Loudoun, while having a scarce opportunity to attack, had no shots in the half.
The second half saw evolution in Loudoun’s attack with some chances at Rowdies’ goalkeeper John McCarthy, though with no clear chance to steal any points Richie Williams appeared to strengthen his defense, with the addition of Jack-Jean Baptiste (making his USL debut) in the 65th minute. Loudoun’s shots continued to be ineffective as Orlando Sinclair (also making his USL debut) entered in the 77th and as the Rowdies hit the post. As Yow came off for Andrew Lubahn with 5 minutes left and a chance to get a point near, Loudoun continued their best to hold the back line, and a late volley by Rowdies substitute Leon Taylor in the box (one of several goal mouth opportunities the Rowdies had) went just wide of the net as Gabriele Giusti whistled full time in front of 5,893.
After being off for two weeks, Loudoun finds themselves off for two more weeks, with their next game at the Ottawa Fury on April 13 at 2pm.