Loudoun United couldn’t be faulted if they found themselves on the end of an easy loss Wednesday night, playing at altitude last weekend and not having much time to prepare for an opponent they have had trouble scoring against. And the Pittsburgh Riverhounds gave them the type of game they expected, but despite battling, they dropped a 3-2 result in front of 817 at Segra Field.
There wasn’t much rotation for Ryan Martin’s side but there were some notable changes: Landry Houssou made his first pro start for Loudoun, and Robby Dambrot, making his first start since September 7, 2019, after having shoulder surgery that shelved him for the 2020 season.
The first half started as Hounds games with Loudoun do, with the pros keeping the young team on their heels. The dam eventually broke as Anthony Velarde found himself open from Alex Dixon (following a nice sequence where D.C. United loanee Michael DeShields closed Dixon down to force the throw-in):
Loudoun attempted to get themselves into the game, but eventually, a cross by Dixon for Kenardo Forbes bounced off Wahab Ackwei for a 2-0 lead in the 41st minute, which was carried into the half.
Loudoun brought two attacking players in at halftime, and a blocked Samson Sergi shot resulted in some luck for Jovanny Bolivar:
Loudoun continued to press but a DeShields foul on Alex Dixon in the Loudoun box produced what appeared to be a backbreaker:
Following a counter led by Darluis Paz and Gaoussou Samake, Bolivar helped set up Logan Panchot’s first goal as a pro for Loudoun:
Loudoun continues to press after the goal, and a Samake ball into the box was cleared off the goal-line by Kilwien deep into stoppage, but they couldn’t find the tying goal.
“I think we leave here with a really sour taste in our mouth,” Dambrot said. “It was an opportunity for us to do something that we have never done in beating Pittsburgh, and if we came out in the first half like we did in the second half, we would have gotten three points, it’s just a shame we wasted the first 45.”
Ryan Martin concurred. “I thought it was the worst half we played this year,” Martin said after the game. “But I was very, very happy to see the response from the team to get ourselves back into it, we shifted shapes in the middle of the game and they handled it well. (We’re) a more mature team that is really a break or two away from making a decent run at some wins.”
Following the game, Kairou Amoustapha traveled to join the Niger National Team in Antalya, Turkey, for a series of friendly matches with other African teams. Niger plays Gambia on June 5, Togo on June 7 and Guinea on June 11.
Loudoun (1-3-0) hosts Charleston next Tuesday at Segra Field.
USL Championship Regular Season - Game 4
Loudoun United FC 2 (Bolivar 50, Panchot 70)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3 (Velarde 18, Ackwei 41 (OG), Cicerone 58 (PK))
Loudoun (343): Jermaine Fordah; Michael DeShields (Massimo Ferrin 89), Timmy Mehl (C), Wahab Ackwei (Ted Ku-DiPietro 45); Robby Dambrot, Landry Houssou (Gaoussou Samake 45), Jeremy Garay (Darluis Paz 67), Logan Panchot; Kairou Amoustapha (Jacob Greene 59), Samson Sergi, Jovanny Bolivar
Pittsburgh (4312): Jake Leeker; Jalen Robinson (Daniel Rovira 59), Shane Wiedt, Mekeil Williams, Preston Kilwien; Todd Wharton (Louis Perez 83), Kenardo Forbes (C), Dan Griffin; Anthony Velarde (Jordan Dover 59); Russell Cicerone (Josh Gatt 71), Alex Dixon (Jelani Peters 83)
Loudoun - Houssou 14, Mehl 20, Samake 46, DeShields 57
Pittsburgh - Dixon 51, Gatt 72