San Diego Loyal defeat Detroit City FC 1-0 in Home Opener


CreditL: Don De Mars Photography/EVT

Don De Mars Photography/EVT

The San Diego Loyal improved to (1-0) on the season after a 1-0 victory against Detroit City FC. Jackson “Simba”Kasanzu scored the first, and only goal of the match, and his defense was even better. There is a lot to look forward to for this upcoming season.

The starting XI for coach Nate Millers’ manager debut showcased many new faces. Koke Vegas started in goal with Kyle Adams, Ebenezer Ackon, Kasanzu, and Elijah Martin in the defense. Nick Moon, Tumi Moshobane, Joe Corona (Loyal debut), and captain Charlie Adams started in the midfield. Evan Conway started at forward alongside Adrien Perez, who also made his Loyal debut.

The first half went by as fast as you could imagine, and it didn’t seem as if a goal would be scored. However, Samba decided to change that. Jackson Kasanzu nailed in the first goal of the 2023 campaign in the 42nd minute to give San Diego the lead right before the half.

Detroit City goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher was left stunned.

Simba was asked after the match what it meant to him to score the first goal of the campaign.

“I want to say thank you God,” Simba said. “I don’t think I have ever been this excited. I thank all the fans who came today and I will keep going every game.”

Detroit showed more aggression in the second half and almost scored in the 53rd minute. Koke Vegas was forced to make a diving stop to keep the small advantage. However, Detroit wasn’t done just yet. Detroit managed to get off one more close shot before the match ended, however, it was just wide of the post.

Don De Mars Photography/EVT

This match was all on the Loyal defense. They forced the clean sheet, and Detroit really couldn’t get anything going all match long. This was a well-earned victory as the team battled all night long to now allow Detroit to get on the board.

Coach Miller shared his thoughts after the first win of the season.

“Happy for the club and happy for the fans,” Miller said. “It was a long time ago that we were here and we left this field very disappointed. Just happy for the supporters here tonight they created a great environment. Everyone has had a really good preseason.”

Miller also mentioned what it was like to have Landon Donovan as his mentor.

“We have a great relationship I learn so much from him,” Miller said. “He’s a great manger and it’s a joy to work with him. I can’t even put it into words the daily little pieces of magic that helps build this club. I think I’m developing a lot because of him.”

SD Loyal led the time of possession 54% to 46% and also had the advantage with shots on target 4-2. Detroit did outshoot the Loyal 16 to 14.

This was a massive relief for Miller, as he had been looking forward to this night as winter long. The Loyal are in for another great season, and they will get another tough test next Sunday as they take on Phoenix Rising FC. The Loyal host Phoenix at 3 pm on March 19.

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Game Notes and News

  • Midfielder Alejandro Guido and defender Grant Stoneman were ineligible for this match due as their suspension carrying over from the 2022 season.
  • Forward Elliot Collier entered the match for Tumi Moshobane in the 62nd minute to make his Loyal debut. Blake Bodily also debut for the Loyal late in the match.
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