Following Loudoun United’s 2-1 loss to the Charleston Battery Wednesday night, coach Ryan Martin talked about what the response for Saturday’s game with the Ottawa Fury would be. And while it delivered to a degree with a first-minute goal, the opposition found its form and offense, scoring for the first time in more than 400 minutes (and two competitions) en route to a 3-1 win in front of 1,672 at Segra Field.
Martin started six players 18 years or under and they felt the need to deliver early, and Griffin Yow’s wing run connected a pass to Elvis Amoh. Amoh tried getting a ball in the middle of the area, but Fury defender Frank Boskovic could not stop the ball from getting to Gordon Wild, who fired a shot by Callum Irving for the early 1-0 lead. Scored at 14 seconds, Wild’s goal was the 5th fastest in USL history and 3rd fastest in 2019.
Ottawa would find their footing shortly after, as former D.C. United draftee Christiano Francois, who beat Alexxon Saravia for a ball and unsuccessful chance minutes earlier, got by Saravia again and crossed a ball to Kevin De Oliveira, who volleyed past Earl Edwards Jr., for the equalizer. Ottawa continued control when Francois found an Ottawa long ball and fired it past Edwards’ far side for the 2-1 lead. Late in the first half, Elvis Amoh received a through ball from Wild and scored, but was ruled to be offside.
Saravia came off at halftime for Connor Presley and Loudoun pushed forward more earlier in the half and Ottawa met the pressure and exerted some of their own as Oliveira, Francois and Wall Fall continued to counter. Nelson Martinez fouled Oliveira just outside the Loudoun box in the 73rd minute, and Carl Haworth’s free kick glanced off the underside of the crossbar for the final goal.
“It’s a tough one to take, but there are some really good moments the other night. Unlike the other game where there was no passion, no fight, the guys pushed to the end, created some decent looks and just needed to be a little bit better with our decisions,” Martin said afterwards. “We were talking yesterday going into the game in terms of the way [Ottawa] play, they look to attack, they’ve got very different ways of doing it, and for us that was one of the better teams we played.”
“My first touch was bad, and I missed the chance, it’s my fault,” Wild said after the game on the potential brace. “I played last Friday 90 minutes, Sunday with the first team, then Wednesday again, then today. Today was maybe not my best performance, but still could have decided the game. I’m feeling comfortable, the transitions (between Loudoun and D.C.) have been good.”
“We have to keep banging away because there’s enough games left where we can find ourselves in a really good position,” Martin continued. “But it’s getting really short, where the margin for error is becoming less and less and we know that. There’s a reserve match tomorrow, Monday is off and then we’ve got three days to prepare for another very good team in Pittsburgh and a tough place to play.”
Loudoun (5-10-5, 20 points, 14th of 18 in the Eastern Conference) plays their next game next Friday at 7pm at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.