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Race to First: Loudoun stuns Rowdies

Photo Credit: USL / Loudoun United

Race to First: Loudoun stuns Rowdies

As the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC make its push for a top seed, and potentially an unprecedented first place overall finish in the USL’s Eastern Conference standings in the final weeks of the 2019 season, Pittsburgh Soccer Now will post keep you up-to-date in this ‘Race to First’ feature following results that affect the Hounds.

On Friday, Tampa Bay Rowdies had a great chance to move up into second place, and much like the Indy Eleven two night earlier, couldn’t inch closer to the Hounds, losing to Loudoun United, 3-0.

Here’s the match recap, courtesy of USL Championship:

Loudoun scored twice in the second half as they dented the Rowdies’ bid for a top-four finish with victory at Segra Field. Loudoun opened brightly as Orlando Sinclair had a pair of chances in the opening 15 minutes, the first curled just wide of the right post and the second a long-range free kick turned wide of then right post by Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy.

The Rowdies’ first good chance didn’t arrive until the 32nd minute when a low cross from the left by Leo Fernandes was shot just wide of the near post by Lucky Mkosana, but after United’s Gordon Wild curled a shot from 25 yards just wide of the left post four minutes later the sides went to the break scoreless. The hosts grabbed the lead five minutes into the second half, however, as Chris Odoi-Atsem surged down the right side and cut back a low cross for Alioune Ndour to score on his debut for the club. Wild almost doubled Loudoun’s lead in the 61st minute as he cut past his defender on the right side of the penalty area but shot just wide of the far post, while the Rowdies almost hit back seven minutes later as a low cross from the right by Malik Johnson was dummied by Zach Steinberger but shot just off target by Jaime Siaj.

The visitors then began to turn up the pressure, and Kwadwo Poku had a low shot deflected wide of the right post with 15 minutes to go, but Wild almost hit again on the counterattack only for Rowdies defender Caleb Richards to take the steam out of his shot in the 83rd minute. Tampa Bay continued to pressure into stoppage time, but in the 93rd minute Wild finally got his reward as he finished off a counterattack to wrap up all three points for the hosts.

Race to first 

Heading into Saturday’s match, here’s what it looks like at the top of the USL’s Eastern Conference standings…

Pos. P W L T GD Pts Form
1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 31 17 4 10 26 61 WDWWW
2 Nashville SC 31 17 7 7 27 58 WLWDW
3 New York Red Bulls II 31 17 8 6 30 57 LWLLD
4 Tampa Bay Rowdies 32 16 7 9 29 57 DLWDL
5 Indy Eleven 31 17 9 5 15 56 WLLLL
6 Louisville City FC 30 14 7 9 11 51 DDWWD
7 North Carolina FC 31 14 9 8 19 50 LDLLW

Other upcoming matches of note: 

Friday, Oct. 4:

Loudoun United 2, Tampa Bay Rowdies 0

Saturday, Oct. 5: 

Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs Atlanta United 2

Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901 FC

North Carolina FC vs NY Red Bulls II

Tuesday, Oct. 8: 

Nashville SC vs Louisville City FC

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the United States. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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