Birmingham Legion held on to a 1-0 lead to prevent San Diego from reaching a franchise record six-game win streak.
The San Diego Loyal were narrowly defeated by Birmingham Legion 1-0 on Saturday, August 13.
The loss puts an end to San Diego’s very impressive run of form lately. Before this match, San Diego had won eight of their last nine matches. San Diego was also on pace to achieve their franchise-record six-game win streak but was met by an unmovable object in Birmingham.
With the loss, San Diego stayed second in the Western Conference, but the gap between them and first place San Antonio extended as San Antonio picked up a win today.
San Diego fielded four players that didn’t start during their 1-0 win over Monterey Bay last Wednesday. Andrew Carleton, Camden Riley, Alejandro Guido, and Jack Metcalf all earned the start. San Diego’s star-studded bench featured in-form players such as Tumi Moshobane, Evan Conway, Thomas Amang, and Charlie Adams who have combined for 24 goals this season.
Legion was the first on the scoresheet on this warm afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama.
A 20th-minute corner saw Juan Agudelo beat multiple San Diego defenders to a header that deflected into the back of the net.
Martinez then had the chance to double Legion’s lead at the end of the first half but a fine Koke Vegas save kept San Diego in the game.
Vegas ended the game with five saves. If he wasn’t on the pitch tonight, who knows how many goals Birmingham could’ve scored against San Diego. He had multiple saves in 1-on-1 situations where the San Diego backline failed to keep track of their runners on multiple occasions.
Along with the goalscorer Agudelo, Marlon Santos was running laps around the San Diego defense. He kept Riley on his toes all match, cutting in and out from the right wing. Santos ended the match with five shots and was unfortunate to see two of them come off the woodwork,
By the 67th minute, Landon Donovan had no choice but to throw all his chips on the table. all four of San Diego’s star-studded bench players were substituted onto the field in hopes of rescuing a result.
But San Diego’s efforts would prove too little as the Birmingham defense held strong until the final whistle.
Despite having 11 shots, San Diego struggled to find great opportunities at goal. They sent eight of their total shots off target, leaving Birmingham goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel with little to do.
With two more games in the next 11 days, San Diego has no choice but to brush this defeat off their shoulders and go at it again. All great runs eventually come to an end and San Diego had been in excellent form before entering Birmingham.
The San Diego Loyal will have a chance to rebound from this defeat next Saturday, August 20th at 6:30 pm. The Loyal will travel to Southwest University Park to face El Paso Locomotive for the final time during the regular season.