Several members of Loudoun United’s roster and staff have seen U.S. Open Cup experiences before, like Zach Ryan’s goal last year at Audi Field with the New York Red Bulls, or Ryan Martin when he was an assistant with F.C. Cincinnati, but the group did not experience one together until Wednesday night in the second round. Hosting North Carolina FC, who they played several times through the years when NCFC was in the USL Championship (and in February as part of both clubs’ preseason efforts). The teams fought into extra time, when a late goal propelled Loudoun to a 2-1 win at Segra Field.
Loudoun started a largely first choice starting XI, which included the return of Zach Ryan to the lineup. Ryan celebrated his return with a goal in the 7th minute, snapping a scoreless streak of 242 minutes across all competitions. In the second half, Jaden Servania of NCFC scored moments after coming on in the 67th minute, and the game remained deadlocked until Wesley Leggett (who came on for Ryan in the 84th minute) scored in the 116th minute to seal the win.
On Wednesday, the team learned their third round opponent, as they will be hosting Flower City Union on April 25 or 26. FCU beat Manhattan Soccer Club 3-1 to advance in the second round, and the NISA side lost their season opener 1-0 to the Maryland Bobcats (the Bobcats beat the Ocean City Nor’easters Wednesday in the second round and will play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third round. There is some organizational familiarity with FCU as Jeremy Garay and Gaoussou Samake were part of the D.C. side which beat FCU in last year’s competition 3-0.
“Obviously the Loudoun staff took quite a taking to (D.C.’s game with FCU last year), they’ve got guys who have been around the league and it’s a difficult situation,” Loudoun Coach Ryan Martin said in a Facebook live chat. “But it’s a good day to be a Loudoun fan.”
Before that game, Loudoun’s next game will be back at Segra on Saturday, April 15 when they host the Birmingham Legion.