Loudoun United had been missing their leading goalscorer (D.C. United loanee Jovanny Bolivar) for several games until his recall was made official this week, and had struggling for scoring goals, losing three in a row (with two shutouts). Loudoun faced a Tampa Bay Rowdies side who had not lost three in a row for more than three years, and the desperation in the Rowdies was visceral as they scored early and controlled the tone in a 2-0 win in front of 4,920 at Al Lang Stadium.
Loudoun saw the return of Michael DeShields to the starting lineup after missing the previous three games to injury. He was joined by fellow D.C. loanees Kimarni Smith and Jacob Greene, while recent loanee Erik Sorga was on the bench. D.C. Academy player Jackson Hopkins started on the bench as well, joined by fellow Academy player Owen Walz, and the gameday roster included 12 players 23 or younger (7 started), 7 of those 20 or younger.
The team started slow, conceding five corner kicks in the first six minutes, and Tampa Bay made them pay in the seventh minute:
Maybe we should've had @Aaronguillen33 up top all along... pic.twitter.com/qtCC74x8se— Tampa Bay Rowdies (@TampaBayRowdies) July 24, 2021
Tampa continued to press and fire shots throughout the first half, some were saved by Jermaine Fordah, others had a fortunate bounce involved:
I mean, how did this stay out... pic.twitter.com/TIJD4G9KLI— Rowdies Gameday (@RowdiesGameday) July 25, 2021
Halftime saw Sorga come on at halftime (for Giovanni Montesdeoca), along with Walz (for DeShields), but the Rowdies remained formidable, which included a brace:
.@Leo_Fernandes22 to the bottom corner. #TogetherRowdies pic.twitter.com/FOT4PgCLg3— Tampa Bay Rowdies (@TampaBayRowdies) July 25, 2021
Loudoun brought the deficit to one when Sorga helped facilitate a chance that Nicky Downs capitalized on (with help from Rowdies player Yann Ekra) to cut the lead to 2-1, the Rowdies quickly countered as Sebastian Guenzatti did the work by himself:
Can only deny El Capitan for so long @seba9113 extends the lead again. #TogetherRowides pic.twitter.com/BxK8pwGZfP— Tampa Bay Rowdies (@TampaBayRowdies) July 25, 2021
Loudoun (2-11-0) returns home to host the Charleston Battery at Segra Field Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.
Highlights will be added when they are available.
USL Championship Regular Season - Game 13
Tampa Bay 2 (Guillen 7, Fernandes 52, Guenzatti 74)
Loudoun United FC 1 (Downs 70)
Tampa Bay (3412): Evan Louro; Jordan Scarlett, Forrest Lasso, Aaron Guillen; Leo Fernandes (Sebastian Dalgaard 87), Lewis Hilton, Lawrence Wyke (Jordan Doherty 78); Yann Ekra (Dayonn Harris 77); Zach Steinberger (Max Lachowecki 78), Sebastian Guenzatti (C) (Lucky Mkosana 87)
Loudoun (3412): Jermaine Fordah; Michael DeShields (Owen Walz 46), Timmy Mehl (C), Robby Dambrot (Darluis Paz 59); Jacob Greene, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Jeremy Garay, Kimarni Smith; Massimo Ferrin (Nicky Downs 68); Michael Gamble (Kairou Amoustapha 46), Giovanni Montesdeoca (Erik Sorga 46)
Tampa Bay - Fernandes 21, Lasso 37, Ekra 73
Loudoun United - Smith 34