The San Diego Loyal inch closer to a home playoff match after gaining one point on the road.
Normally, a team would take a point away from home during majority of midseason matches. Instead, it felt that tonight, the Loyal had more to play for than just a home playoff match. Nate Miller company were still fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. That will no longer be the case, as the Loyal can finish 2nd at best.
San Diego improves to (14-9-9) with 51 points on the season. However, there is a chance they finish the night in 4th place rather than third, which they started the night in. The outcome of the Orange County SC-Oakland Roots game could be decisive for the Loyal’s playoff seeding. If OC wins, they will end the night in third with 51 points and the tiebreaker over the Loyal.
The first half of this match was probably one of the least entertaining halves of soccer I have watched in quite some time. Both sides combined for four shots, with just one on target from Ronaldo Damus in the first 45.
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) October 5, 2023
Damus is fresh off winning the USL Championship Player of the Week after his hat trick last Saturday night in the 4-1 win over Monterey Bay Union FC.
San Diego controlled possession per usual; however, it was narrow at just 52% to 48%. The Loyal were certainly the more threatening team in the first half, yet just couldn’t really get into a groove. SD earned three corner kicks and had a few chances but were held scoreless for a 0-0 first 45.
The second 45 started with more pace. The Loyal managed to attempt six shots in the second half while keeping El Paso to just two.
Both keepers were on their game Wednesday night, and the backline on both sides managed to disrupt the flow of the attack.
One of the closest chances of the match for the Loyal came in the 78th minute when Damus almost nailed in a header from a cross inside the box. Instead, the ball went directly to El Paso’s keeper Benny Diaz.
With El Paso failing to attempt a shot on target, Koke Vegas really didn’t need to do much with the defense from the Loyal playing a a high level.
Neither side could score a goal. The Loyal have just two games remaining to stay in form until the playoffs begin. As of now, it seems as if the defense is in form after allowing just five goals in their last six matches.
The next match for San Diego will be the very last regular season home match for the Loyal. They will host Oakland Roots SC, who have given the Loyal fits over the years.
The match will be played this Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7:00 p.m.
Match News & Notes
- Nick Moon subbed in at the 78th minute for his first appearance since July 1.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.