LEESBURG, Va. – Miami FC earned back-to-back victories for the first time this season as Christiano Francois and Ariel Martinez each recorded a goal and assist in a 4-1 victory against Loudoun United FC on Sunday evening at Segra Field.
The hosts had an early chance as Nicky Downs fired a low shot that was deflected by Miami defender Janos Loebe before being blocked by goalkeeper Connor Sparrow and launched away to safety by a defender. Loudoun’s Timmy Mehl then set up a chance for Giovanni Montesdeoca only for the forward to tamely shoot wide as the side continued to pressure early.
Miami’s first real chance came in the 17th minute as a good move set up a low cross from Loebe from the left that was met with a heavy first touch by Adonijah Reid, which allowed Loudoun goalkeeper Jermaine Fordah to claw the ball away before he could shoot. The ball spilled to Othello Bah as he arrived in the penalty area, but his shot went high and wide of the right side of the net.
Reid had another chance seven minutes later as Francois found his run to the left post from the top-right edge of the penalty area, but Fordah got across well to block the shot behind for a corner. Miami continued to press after the ensuing corner kick as Paco Craig had a header tipped just over the crossbar, but in the 26th minute Bolu Akinyode gave the visitors the lead when a corner kick fell to him in the right side of the penalty area, and after a quick exchange of passes with Reid the experienced midfielder shot home just inside the right post.
Loudoun almost answered immediately as Darluis Paz fired a good shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area that was tipped wide of the left post by Sparrow, and in the 34th minute the hosts were awarded a penalty kick as Paz was brought down just inside the left edge of the penalty area. The Venezuelan stepped up to the spot himself but rattled the crossbar with a shot aimed to the top-left corner to leave Miami ahead.
The pressure from United continued as Kimarni Smith got past his defender on the right and delivered a low cross that deflected toward the top of the six-yard area. Massimo Ferrin almost applied a finish only to be crowded out, but the ball spun left where Montesdeoca had a chance to finish only for Sparrow to get across quickly from the initial chance to make a low save.
The visitors almost added to their lead inside the opening minute of the second half when Loebe slipped Pierre Da Silva into the left side of the penalty area for a low shot that was saved by Fordah. A few minutes later Sparrow had to come up big once again as Robbie Dambrot flicked a free kick by Ferrin from the right on target, forcing a kick-save from the Miami goalkeeper.
Miami struck for its second of the game with 20 minutes to go, however, as Da Silva tried to go around his defender inside the penalty area but instead set up Francois for a strong first-time finish into the top-right corner of the net. The visitors then added a third three minutes later as Francois beat the offside line after a turnover in midfield by United to run onto a pass by Junior Palacios and then laid a pass across for Martinez to finish after having drawn the goalkeeper to leave an open net.
Loudoun pulled a goal back in the 75th minute as Abdellatif Aboukoura delivered a back-post ball from a corner kick on the left that found Owen Walz arriving late for a volleyed finish. Downs then went close again for the hosts with five minutes to go as he shot just wide of the top-left corner from the top of the penalty area after a free kick on the left was played laterally for his shot, but in second-half stoppage time Billy Forbes tapped home from close range for Miami’s fourth after a neat piece of play by Martinez to weave past two defenders to set up his teammate to wrap up the win for the visitors.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Christiano Francois, Miami FC – Francois recorded a goal and assist, had two key passes and completed 17 of 20 passes overall while also completing three dribbles to help lead the visitors to victory.
MIA – Bolu Akinyode (Adonijah Reid) 26’
MIA – Christiano Francois (Pierre Da Silva) 70’
MIA – Ariel Martinez (Christiano Francois) 73’
LDN – Owen Walz (Abdellatif Aboukoura) 75’
MIA – Billy Forbes (Ariel Martinez) 90+2’