It was somewhat incumbent for Loudoun United to get a result at home Wednesday night, and had 5 players from D.C. United in their starting lineup, with two other players making their professional debuts. The performance to start the game was flat as Loudoun spotted the Charleston Battery two goals in the first hour before putting on a rally that fell short in a 2-1 loss in front of 1,012 at Segra Field.
Chris Seitz played in goal, while Donovan Pines appeared in defense. Antonio Bustmante, Gordon Wild and Griffin Yow comprised the midfield, and Academy player Jeremy Garay and pro signing Robbie Dambrot debuted as well. In the 21st minute, Taylor Mueller went around Collin Verfurth and beat Wild to a near post corner kick, heading it past Seitz for the lead, which would remain the case until halftime.
Into the second half, Carlos Alvarez came on for John Murphy at halftime, and former Academy player Alexis Cerritos made his USL debut for Loudoun in the 57th minute as Pines came out. Minutes later, Dante Marini collected a Kotaro Higashi pass on the left side, and blasted it past Seitz’ left for the 2-0 lead. In the 77th minute, Loudoun would get one back as Yow crossed the ball in and Phil Breno couldn’t hold it, going right to Orlando Sinclair’s head for the 2-1 lead. Loudoun would continue to press, culminating in a 95th minute scramble where Carlos Alvarez, Cerritos and Sinclair would all have looks at an equalizer but would not go in.
“Yeah, I think we wasted 45 minutes to be quite honest,” coach Ryan Martin said. “The first 45 were really poor, there was a lack of passion, lack of energy, lack of commitment. We talked all week about the strength of Charleston being restarts, so to allow a guy to get that open in the box is appalling.”
Martin continued: “It was the first time I can say I was thoroughly disappointed with the passion. Football is a game of emotion, and I think I was probably the one that had the most out there in the first half, begging the guys to press and run and work. And that’s a big message for them at the end was if you’re gonna make it and be a top, top player, you have to produce at every minute of every game and I felt like they collectively and individually came up short.”
“Our mentality has got to be better, and we just gotta really put our foot down and fight for our lives, for the the playoffs and almost act like we’re losing games to start so we can fight back and really make a playoff push,” Kyle Murphy said.
“I was happy with the response today, so the response on Saturday will really dictate what tonight’s lesson was and how they learn from it,” Martin added.
Loudoun (5-10-5, 20 points) remain in 14th place, and host the 8th place Ottawa Fury Saturday night at 7:30pm at Segra Field.