Oakland stuns Loyal at Torero with interim head coach Noah Delgado
The San Diego Loyal were back at Torero Stadium, where they had played well all season long. This outing would not continue that trend as the Roots took over right before the end of the first half.
SD fell to (16-7-4) with 52 points and a (+16) goal difference on the season. Oakland improved to (7-7-12) on the year with 33 points and a (+4) goal difference.
Manager Landon Donovan issued his usual formation tonight with Koke Vegas in goal for the Loyal. Kyle Vassell, Tumi Moshobane, Alejandro Guido, and Evan Conway started up front for SD, and Captain Charlie Adams and Collin Martin centered in the midfield.
San Diego controlled the possession to start the first half. It seemed as if every chance came to the Loyal in the first half as well. Guido had two attempts in the box that didn’t result in an early goal. Roots’ keeper Paul Blanchette saved what would have been a goal for the Loyal around the 10-minute mark.
Fifteen minutes later, The Loyal created another chance that started from Tumi Moshobane. Moshobane found Vassell, who attempted the shot blocked by Banchette, but Evan Conway was at the right place at the right time and drilled it in with his left foot.
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Conway now has eight goals on the season, which is third on the team behind Vassell (12) and Thomas Amang (9).
“It was a decent start it’s always nice to get a goal,” Conway said. “I’ve been scoring late goals so a first half goal was nice. It was a tough game, they played good defense and we had some tired legs but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
The lead didn’t last long for the Loyal. Oakland evened the score less than five minutes later. Juan Carlos Azocar found a way to sneak it past Vegas to equalize.
Oakland would find the back of the net again in the 38th minute. As the first half started to wind down, the Roots seemed to have taken control of the match. The Loyal kept controlling possession; however, Oakland found a counter-attacking plan. A brilliant header from Emrah Klimenta sailed over the head of Vegas for the lead.
That would wrap up the first 45 minutes. Oakland was looking to steal three points on the road here in San Diego.
SD controlled 57% of the possession and finished the half with nine shots and four on target. Oakland ended with six shots and four on target.
Oakland really picked up the pace in the second half. They made it difficult for the Loyal to continue to utilize their strengths.
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Although, that didn’t stop the Loyal from competing. SD attempted six shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half, with four on target, but none found the back of the net. In that same span, Oakland shot just once. The Loyal had plenty of time left to try and even the score.
The comeback would fall short, however. Oakland managed to score one more goal with just minutes remaining to put the match out of reach.
“Congrats to Oakland I thought they played really well,” Donovan said. “It’s a reminder to our guys that one, we always get other team’s best games and we know that, especially here. And two, all the little things add up. If you don’t do them right then you will lose and tonight was a reminder of that.”
Oakland played with a new head coach tonight, and it seemed to have elevated them a little. The performance from the Roots was a great test to the Loyal, who have just two home games remaining.
“We are looking forward to our next two home games and it is important if we are going to host some games in the playoffs,” Conway said. “It’s important to get comfortable here at home and put on a good performance for the crowd when they come out.”
The next match for the Loyal will be on the road in 10 days. They travel to The Bay to take on Monterey Bay Union FC on September 3 at 7 p.m.
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.