Following an effort where Loudoun United started slow and showed promise but lost 2-1 in their opening game, the team returned to Segra Field sporting a new look, and some old faces in new roles, but the result was familiar, losing 2-1 to New York Red Bulls II in front of 710.
Similar to parent club D.C. United, Loudoun started with a three-man backline, including Academy player Owen Walz next to Timmy Mehl and Wahab Ackwei. Additionally, Ted Ku-DiPietro returned to the starting lineup as a right wingback, and among the bench players were Michael DeShields (on loan from D.C., along with Jovanny Bolivar), Landry Houssou, Keegan Meyer and Robby Dambrot, making his return to the lineup for the first time in 18 months following a shoulder injury that shelved him for 2020.
Like the last game where Loudoun spotted the opposition two early goals, the behavior would return as Jeremy Rafanello would deke Walz to spring himself on the left, and passed to Omar Sowe who easily put the ball past Jermaine Fordah for a Red Bulls II lead in the 4th minute. Like the last game, Loudoun would rally and find their footing, eventually leveling the game when Gaoussou Samake sent a cross easily past Joseph Zalinsky. Samake found Samson Sergi in the middle and his shot bounced off the crossbar, but the 24-year-old who played at nearby Broad Run High School put in the rebound to level things at 1, which was how things went into the half.
The second half found DeShields on the field for Walz, and things were back and forth with no concrete chances until the 63rd minute when Fordah fouled Sowe in the area. Referee Danielle Chesky gave a yellow to Fordah and a penalty kick to the Red Bulls, and Mandela Egbo would put it in past Fordah’s left for the 2-1 lead. Loudoun had several chances, which either were offside (a 69th minute Ackwei header and a 82nd minute Houssou half volley) or hit the crossbar (an 89th minute free kick by Massimo Ferrin), and the result remained.
“It was a special moment, to get the first professional goal a minute from my house growing up, my whole family is here,” Sergi said after the game. “Some of my best friends growing up are here it was something special to celebrate with community that I love so much.”
He then switched topics to the game. “I think we have a special group, you can see for most of the match that they can play really well because we have some really talented players but I think the guys overall are pretty frustrated because we have so much talent in the room and to not get the results is rough.”
“It’s a new group and they’re hungry, ambitious young men that want to collectively win games, individually grow and hopefully make it to the first team one day,” Coach Ryan Martin said. “On a day like today it’s pretty easy, they want to get better so it’s every single day can we get better, and tomorrow can it be better than today. We felt like we had some positive and some growth from Miami but we still need quite a bit more to get the results, but I think we are heading in the right direction.”
After the game, Egbo alleged that racist behavior occurred at some point in the second half amongst members of the Loudoun Stampede supporters group. Black and Red United understands that the team is aware of the matter and is investigating (as of this writing).
One of our young strikers kept his ultimate cool when monkey chants were aimed at him by these same section of fans behind the goal. I would hope that audio from the whole second half’s footage is being listened to very very closely by the powers that be. @USLChampionship https://t.co/FRbhUobSZd— Mandela Egbo (@mandela_e) May 19, 2021
Loudoun (0-2-0) is off until May 29, where they will play at New Mexico United.
USL Championship Regular Season - Game 2
Loudoun United FC 1 (Sergi 27)
Red Bulls II (Sowe 4, Egbo 64 (PK))
Loudoun (343): Jermaine Fordah; Wahab Ackwei, Timmy Mehl (C), Owen Walz (Michael DeShields 45); Ted Ku-DiPietro, Nicky Downs (Logan Panchot 61), Jeremy Garay (LOandry Houssou 79), Gaoussou Samake; Kairou Amoustapha, Samson Sergi (Massimo Ferrin 61), Jovanny Bolivar (Darluis Paz 61)
Red Bulls II (4312): Anthony Marcucci; Joseph Zalinsky, Mandela Egbo (C), Emir Tombul, Juan Castillo (Curtis Ofori 60); Jake LaCava (Matthew Acosta 90+1), Daniel Edelman; Michael Knapp; Wikelman Cardona; Omar Sowe (Austin Brummett 75), Jeremy Rafanello (Roald Mitchell 45)
Loudoun - Amoustapha 36, Ku-DiPietro 42, Sergi 52, Fordah 63, Pinchot 74, Paz 75
Red Bulls II - Edelman 26, Sowe 75, Brummett 90+3