On an Independence Day where Loudoun United looked to seek a freeing three points from Hartford Athletic, Loudoun saw the chance for a lead disappear en route to a 2-0 loss in front of 693, extending Loudoun’s winless streak to Hartford to eight games.
Loudoun had to balance workload (Sunday’s game was their third in eight days) with first-team needs (D.C. United’s first Capital Cup game is Wednesday), which resulted in new signing Giovanni Montesdeoca making his starting debut after signing Friday, along with Academy player Abdellatif Aboukoura, who registered his first pro assist in last week’s win over Pittsburgh. D.C. loanees Jacob Greene and Jovanny Bolivar began on the bench as Kimarni Smith started and Michael DeShields was rested. Michael Gamble also appeared on the bench for the first time in 2021.
Following a first half where the teams assessed their defensive structure (and combined to register one shot on target among 12 total shots), Loudoun coach Ryan Martin brought on Bolivar and Kairou Amoustapha at halftime for Kimarni Smith and Ted Ku-DiPietro in the attempt to increase pressure on the Hartford defense, which resulted in some benefit as Montesdeoca was fouled by Younes Boundadi in the Hartford area, but Bolivar’s kick left was saved by Jeff Caldwell’s glove to preserve the scoreless draw.
The miss proved to be crucial, as a stumbling Preston Etaka managed to get a pass outside to Connor McGlynn, whose cross found Arthur Rogers in front of an open net and a 1-0 Hartford lead:
Moments later, a header from Robby Dambrot back to Diego Gomez Ochoa went over his head, and the final result gave Hartford a brace thanks to Etaka:
“With the Capital Cup friendlies coming up, we had a lot of guys that will be playing there for DC this week, so the message for everybody was that (they’re) gonna get an opportunity,” coach Ryan Martin said after the game. “So for me, I thought it was very good, especially with some guys making their pro debuts, other guys (who) haven’t been playing, and I think a lot of guys stepped up and did quite well.”
Loudoun (2-8-0) hosts Miami FC on July 11 at 5:00 pm at Segra Field.
In the moments before the game ended, Boundadi displayed racist messages he received on his Instagram page, prompting this response from the USL late Sunday night:
The United Soccer League is aware of the abhorrent social media abuse received this evening by Hartford Athletic player Younes Boudadi following their match against Loudoun United.— United Soccer League (@USL_HQ) July 5, 2021
We’re grateful to Younes for bringing this disgraceful behavior to light, offer our unequivocal support and will continue to do everything in our power to eradicate hate, bigotry and racism from our sport.— United Soccer League (@USL_HQ) July 5, 2021
USL Championship Regular Season - Game 10
Loudoun United FC 0 (Bolivar PK miss 57)
Hartford Athletic 2 (Rogers 64, Etaka 73)
Loudoun (4231): Jermaine Fordah; Owen Walz (Jacob Greene 54), Timmy Mehl (C), Diego Gomez-Ochoa, Robby Dambrot; Nicky Downs, Ted Ku-DiPietro (Jovanny Bolivar 45); Kimarni Smith (Kairou Amoustapha 45), Massimo Ferrin (Mathias Yohannes 75), Abdellatif Aboukoura (Michael Gamble 56); Giovanni Montesdeoca
Hartford (4312): Jeff Caldwell; Alejandro Lara, Walid Yacoubou, Thomas Janjigian, Connor McGlynn (Samuel Armah Ashitey 68); Younes Boundadi, Christian Gomez (Sebastian Elney 45), Arthur Rogers (Nico Cardona 85); Richie Schlentz (Jeciel Cedeno 85); Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Preston Tabort Etaka 63), Danny Barrera
Loudoun - Gomez Ochoa 89, Downs 90, Gamble (90+3, red)
Hartford - Gomez 44, Yacoubou 90+3