San Diego Loyal complete another comeback, finish in 1-1 draw


Credit: Don De Mars/ EVT Sports

Credit: Don De Mars/ EVT Sports

The San Diego Loyal did it again. After trailing going into halftime for the second consecutive match, the Loyal stormed back and finished in a 1-1 draw against the top team in the USL Championship.

SD improved to (6-4-4) with 22 points on the season. They remain in 4th place in the Western Conference. As for Sacramento, they stay at the top with 29 points and (8-1-5) record.

Head coach Nate Miller issued a 3-4-1-2 lineup as Koke Vegas returned to goal. Ronaldo Damus and Evan Conway started up top, and the midfield saw a rare name in Camden Riley in the first group. Miller’s thought process was to start with a little more speed in the backline. So much so that forward Adrian Perez started in midfield as well.

Loyal captain Alejandro Guido had a lot to say about Riley earning the start, which was not an easy thing to do.

“I think Cam is a f****** great player,” Guido said. He’s amazing. He is able to go in the midfield as an eight or a six or even a center back. It’s so important to have those players on our team and we are lucky to have one. He did a great job.”

San Diego played extremely well in the first 15 minutes of the match. They controlled possession and kept knocking on the door in front of The Locals. Conway, Damus, and Guido were all over the place, trying to secure the early advantage.

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However, that early advantage did not come. The story of the first half was all about missed opportunities. San Diego played very aggressive, attempting a total of seven shots with four on goal. Yet, they couldn’t get one to fall. SD had many chances, and none could get past Sacramento keeper Danny Vitiello.

Credit: Don De Mars/ EVT Sports

In the 29th minute, Sacramento took the first lead off of a counterattack. The play ended up being a close call for offsides, but the side official did not blow the whistle. Sacramento took that advantage into the locker room for the half. San Diego led with huge control in possession, 59% to 41%.

Sacramento started the second half much more aggressive than the first 45. They were inches away from taking a huge 2-0 lead but just missed wide left of the post. What did San Diego Loyal do to respond?

They kept pushing. Elliot Collier subbed in at the hour mark and instantly made a spark. San Diego was rewarded with a penalty kick after an attempt reflected off Connor Donovan’s arm.

The reigning USL Player of the Week, Ronaldo Damus, stepped up to the line and drilled in the goal to even the score at one.

Damus has three goals in his last two matches and is now tied with Conway for the team lead at five.

That would be all the action in this match. SD completed another comeback even though they did not win the match. SD will certainly take this result.

Here is what coach Miller had to say about the result.

“I think it was a good game of football,” Miller said. “Two different teams and two good teams. I think we played very well. In general, we created a ton of chances but I’m happy with my guys and I’m happy that we competed and started the game better which was really important for us.”

San Diego has to turn around and play once against on Wednesday night, June 14th. They will once again face San Antonio FC at home, who they just tied 3-3 against last weekend.

Match News & Notes

  • Elliot Collier and Grant Stoneman subbed in at the hour mark for Tumi Moshobane and Cam Riley.
  • Morgan Hackworth subbed in for Damus in the 86th minute.
  • Midfielders Charlie Adams and Joe Corona missed Friday’s match with lower body injuries.
  • Nick Moon served his one-game suspension Friday night. Moon is eligible to return on Wednesday against San Antonio FC.
  • Vegas missed the last few matches with an injury and returned to the lineup Friday night.
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