It was a night of firsts at First Tennessee Park; D.C. United’s USL owned team (Loudoun United FC) played its first game, their opponent Nashville SC played their first game of their last year in the USL before moving up to MLS. Playing competitive minutes for only the third time as a group, Loudoun’s innocence eventually appeared in a 2-0 loss in front of 5,363.
The first half found Loudoun on their heels for most of it, starting off with a jaw dropping miss by Nashville’s Boulawatife Akinyode:
The first half amazingly ended scoreless after that; Loudoun started D.C. loanees Akeem Ward and Donovan Pines at right and center back, respectively. Pines’ fellow homegrown signing Antonio Bustamante was the playmaker in midfield, and Academy product Elian Nalerio played left wing.
No halftime substitutions were made, and then a 57th minute corner kick from Nashville’s Lebo Moloto found Cameron Lancaster, whose arcing header was just enough to get over Calle Brown and into the net for a 1-0 lead. The 2018 USL Golden Boot winner with 26 goals in Louisville netting his first with Nashville.
After the goal, Nalerio came off for fellow D.C. Academy product Griffin Yow, and three minutes later a Taylor Washington cross into the box was mishandled by Brown and fell to the feet of Daniel Rios, who put it away with ease for a 2-0 lead. Shinya Kadono came on for Andrew Lubahn, and Kadono, Yow and Connor Presley began to see some space and generate some activity around the Nashville area. Sandor Bustamante made way for Noah Pilato in the 76th minute so Loudoun could bring more players ahead and a 89th minute cross to defender Harri Hawkins almost found its way in the net, but goalkeeper Matt Pickens saved it to preserve the shutout.
Loudoun United (0-1-0) is away for their next game, Saturday at 8pm at Memphis 901 FC.