Loudoun United was humbled last week when the Tampa Bay Rowdies came to town and defeated them handily, and looked to fare better against Miami FC. And though they handled a new tactical wrinkle well, the inability to close a game out reared its head again in a 2-1 loss to Miami in front of 1,289 at Segra Field.
Loudoun had Abdoul Zanne and Skage Simonsen, fresh from second-half appearances with D.C. United in their midweek friendly with Bayern Munich, start tonight, but a notable mention was the pro starting debut of highly regarded prospect Kristian Fletcher. Jeremy Garay and Jacob Greene started as part of loan downs by D.C., while Hayden Sargis was on the bench as Loudoun employed a 4231 to align with Wayne Rooney’s tactical choices in D.C.
Everyone would have to wait, as wind and lightning moved the game back one hour and forty-three minutes before kickoff, and after some early defensive issues, Loudoun got on the board first, as Fletcher was credited with an assist to Abdoul Zanne:
After the goal Miami continued forward, as Luis Zamudio made a point-blank save:
Fletcher forced a save from Connor Sparrow moments later:
Former New York Red Bull Florian Valot evened things up for Miami in the first half:
Moving into the second half, teams traded chances as the half wore on, first by Loudoun’s Tyler Freeman:
Then Speedy Williams challenged Zamudio:
Skage Simonsen’s chance was ruined by a last-minute tackle by Paco Craig:
Craig would help Miami in the dying moments for the game-winner:
On giving up their ninth goal in the last 15 minutes of the game over the last two months, Ryan Martin said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but you have two choices in professional soccer are you keep going or you don’t, so we’ll dust off and go again.”
“I think it was a pretty decent performance,” Jalen Robinson said afterwards. “And some of the calls were unlucky, but it kills us, I hate to say it but it kills us. We obviously need to pick up these points, and we have to be dogs and fight for these three points.”
On the formation change, Martin said, “I thought overall it was pretty good, the spacing was decent and we created some really good looks at goal, and I thought they seemed comfortable because we’ve played this way in the past, but overall I was pretty happy with the adjustments the guys made and how quickly they did it.”
Loudoun (4-12-3, 15 pts) go on the road to play Birmingham Legion Wednesday before hosting Monterey Bay FC next Saturday, July 30 at 7:30pm.
USL Championship Regular Season - Game 19
Loudoun United FC 1 (Zanne 13)
Miami FC 2 (Valot 34, Craig 90+2)
Loudoun (4231): Luis Zamudio; Rio Hope-Gund, Carson Vom Steeg, Jalen Robinson (C), Jacob Greene; Nicky Downs, Jeremy Garay (Michael Gamble 56); Kristian Fletcher (Tyler Freeman 65), Skage Simonsen (Houssou Landry 86), Abdoul Zanne (Zoumana Diarra 45), Azaad Liadi
Miami (433): Connor Sparrow; Mark Segbers, Paco Craig (C), Benjamin Ofeimu (Callum Chapman-Page 12), Aedan Stanley; Devon Williams, Florian Valot, Boluwatlife Akinyode; Christian Sorto (Richard Ballard 79), Kyle Murphy, Joaquin Rivas (Othello Bau 66)
Loudoun - Diarra 60, Freeman 70, Downs 89
Miami - Murphy 40, Akinyode 59, Ballard 90+3