Loudoun United followed up a wild 3-2 win Wednesday by challenging themselves early Saturday night against two-time defending USL Champions Louisville City FC, first by allowing a first-minute goal, then by losing a starter to injury 30 minutes later, all the while with three D.C. United Academy players making their professional starting debuts. Loudoun came back behind the work of some of the youngsters and almost leveled things, falling short in a 2-1 loss at Louisville Slugger Field.
With Bryang Kayo and Moses Nyeman starting in midfielder, along with left back Adam Lundegard, there were three Academy players making their professional starting debuts (for Lundegard, it was his first professional minutes). Add Griffin Yow into the mix, and four members of Ryan Martin’s U-17 team with D.C. were reunited in the pros. The quartet was greeted rudely within the first minute as Taylor Peay came down the right side and fed Magnus Rasmussen (steps ahead of Nyeman) in the area alone for a early 1-0 Louisville lead. Louisville found openings in secondary lanes at the top and around the Loudoun area frequently, with Calle Brown forced to make four additional saves in the subsequent half hour. Brown’s night ended when he saved Napo Matsoso’s shot, but could not corral the rebound. In the scramble, Matsoso’s knee hit Brown in the head and after several minutes, a woozy Brown walked off under his own power, replaced by Colin Miller, making his professional debut. While Martin talked to the field players before he came on, Miller’s welcome to the pros was also harsh, as a 39th minute Oscar Jimenez cross was redirected by Sean Totsch at point blank range to the short side for a 2-0 lead. Totsch had beaten Connor Presley to that spot in the process.
At halftime, Lundegard came off for Andrew Lubahn and Loudoun pressed further up the field, with the exclamation point being a Griffin Yow blast from 25 yards out, simultaneously rendering defender Alexis Souahy and goalkeeper Ben Lundt helpless. There were some anxious moments on both side, first by Loudoun on a Connor Presley shot and later a 78th minute chance when Kyle Murphy mistakenly laid the ball off for an intercepting Louisville defender, then later when Niall McCabe and Miller collided for the ball in the area, and Sunny Jane’s 87th minute hit the post. Miller came up for a 93rd minute corner kick but the effort was ultimately fruitless.
The next game for Loudoun (3-5-3) is at Audi Field on June 15 as they host Indy Eleven.