In a matchup of two teams in the bottom of the USL Championship in scoring, an unexpected high-scoring affair broke out in Kansas City on Wednesday as Loudoun United FC (3-4-3, 12 pts) swiped a thrilling 3-2 road victory from the Swope Park Rangers (1-7-4, 7 pts). The win gives Ryan Martin a 1-0 record as Loudoun’s United new head coach.
After nearly conceding a goal in the first minute if not for a save by keeper Calle Brown, Loudoun opened up the scoring in the 5th minute of play. After a beautiful flick pass from Griffin Yow in the midfield to open up space, Peabo Doue booted a cross into the box for team captain Kyle Murphy, who was able to bounce a shot just over the goal line after it deflected off of Rangers keeper John Pulskamp.
The Rangers were quick to respond in the 12th minute. Young, but experienced midfielder Felipe Hernandez (over 60 appearances) drove a low shot in to the bottom corner of the net and passed Brown to tie the match up at one for his fifth goal of the season.
The scoring continued in the first half, as Doue and Yow connected again. This time, Doue lead a pass into the box for Yow who finished a shot in the bottom right corner of the net, giving Loudoun a 2-1 lead and Doue his second assist of the day.
Eight minutes later, the Rangers equalized on a free kick set piece as Alexsander sent the ball into the box for Wilson Harris to finish with a sliding header in added time before the first half whistle.
Both teams had multiple chances in the second half, including a Swope Park corner that nearly led to a Loudoun own goal, as Brown had to make a key save after the ball deflected off of teammate Collin Verfurth.
Murphy had another chance on a breakaway in the 65th minute, but put too much power on a shot that went high and wide of the goal.
It wasn’t until the 86th minute that Loudoun was able to break the tie. Bryang Kayo, a substitute in the 59th minute made a game-winning impact off the bench, as he touched a perfect ball to lead Connor Presley in to the box who finished on the near post side, sealing a hard-earned victory for Loudoun.
Brown had a busy night, making five saves and keeping Loudoun in the match in the second half.
Loudoun moves up to 12th place in the USL Championship with the win, and will look to carry this momentum in to Saturday’s matchup at Louisville City FC.