Three weeks and one day ago, Loudoun United opened Segra Field with a wild, scrambling 3-3 draw with the Charlotte Independence, and four home games later, found themselves christening it with their first win, a convincing 4-0 performance over North Carolina FC in front of 1,551.
The first half started quiet, with the exception of a Robbie Dambrot foul on Manny Perez leaving Perez coming off to a groin issue. Yamkani Chester (who scored two goals in a second half substitute appearance against Loudoun last month) came on for Perez, assuming the left midfield role as Ulrich Ewolo moved right. The scoring opened in the 31st minute as a Harri Hawkins diagonal long ball found Carlos Alvarez on the right. Alvarez attempted a cross but the ball went off Sam Brotherton, beating Darrin MacLeod for the lead. Loudoun would double their lead minutes later after Gordon Wild drew a foul from Chester deep in the Carolina end. A free kick found Wild sending a pass to Antonio Bustamante, who fired a shot past a leaping MacLeod in the upper right corner of the net as the D.C. United loanees combined for a 2-0 Loudoun lead that they preserved going into halftime.
The second half saw Elvis Amoh almost pick up where the team left off, as he headed a Connor Presley cross off the bar in the 49th minute. Loudoun persisted and Moses Nyeman (on as a substitute) found Kyle Murphy for a short through ball in the 56th minute for the 3-0 lead. Presley and Amoh would reunite successfully for Loudoun’s fourth, as in the 64th minute Amoh collected Presley’s long ball and dribbled it around MacLeod.
“It feels great,” Coach Ryan Martin said after the game. “It feels good for everybody that’s put so much into it, whether it’s the players, (Loudoun COO) Adam Behnke, Jason (Levien) and the owners that we just saw there. It’s been a lot of people doing hard work to get us where we are, so I couldn’t be happier for everybody involved.”
“I’m not going to lie, I was yelling at my other holding mid (Nelson Martinez) to get the ball first and then give it to me,” Bustamante said of his goal. “So Gordon caught me by surprise with that pass, but I was able to adjust myself and get a clean hit.”
“It was hectic,” Kyle Murphy said of the compressed schedule Loudoun has experienced recently, “three games in eight days, so that’s a lot. So we have a couple days off to recover and we have a full week to prepare for Hartford, which is ideal, so we’ll keep going.”
“You know what you’re going to get [from the first team] when Russell Canouse every time he puts his jersey on and goes after it and that’s why he’s a pro. Paul Arriola, you know what you’re going to get every single game, “ Martin said. “And that’s the challenge for [Loudoun] individually and collectively. We did some very good things, now can we put another one together.”
Loudoun (6-12-6, 24 points) temporarily move from 15th to 13th in the Eastern Conference with two teams playing Sunday, and go on the road to play Hartford Athletic next Saturday at 4pm on ESPN+.