San Diego Loyal SC and San Antonio FC finish in 2-2 draw


Credit: XoloGuero/EVT Sports

Credit: XoloGuero/EVT Sports

For the third consecutive game, the San Diego Loyal finished in a competitive draw against one of the top teams in the USL Championship. This match was a war from the start, and the Loyal received a point at home before they play four straight matches on the road.

SD improved to (6-4-5) on the season with 23 points and (+3) goal difference. San Antonio improved to (6-2-7) with 25 points and (+11) goal difference.

Head coach Nate Miller issued a 3-5-2 formation with Koke Vegas in goal. Grant Stoneman and Nick Moon returned to the starting XI as Elliot Collier earned himself a rare start at forward.

“We were in a different formation but we have played that shape in the last couple of games,” Miller said. “We have been working on it to suit some of our attacking players.”

First Half

The new formation and tactic seemed to work early on for the Loyal. SD came in with a game plan and executed it as well as you could in the first 15 minutes of the match.

Loyal captain Alejandro Guido put the Loyal up early with a goal in the 10th minute for No. 10.

That was the first goal of the season for Guido. It was long overdue.

Here is what Guido had to say about finally getting one in the back of the net.

“It was a quick transition,” Guido said. “Nate mentioned at the beginning of the game that it was going to be a man-to-man game and that they would come out and press us. It was really important for me to lose my man because he was so close to me and Nick [Moon] found me in a good spot. It was just a 1-2 touch and I was able to put it in … finally.”

Evan Conway and SA defender Lamar Batista were battling all match long. It seemed as if every jump ball came to those two, and Conway found himself down on the pitch at least a dozen times. The intensity was there, and the Loyal thrived in it.

They kept SA scoreless in the first half, which is something they haven’t been able to do in the last seven matches … take a lead into the half.

San Diego controlled possession once again in the first 45, which is not a surprise at all. However, this was a closer margin than normal at 52%-48%. SD attempted four shots, with just the one on target that came from Guido. San Antonio attempted eight shots with none on target.

Credit: XoloGuero/ EVT Sports

SD’s backline came to play in the first half. San Antonio had the second-best goal difference entering Wednesday, and it seemed they struggled the entire half.

Second Half

The second half could not have started any worse for the Loyal, who put up such a fight in the first half.

Just 30 seconds in, a handball was called in the penalty box as Stoneman was falling to the pitch. An unlucky call allowed SA to even the score at one. SA forward Sam Adeniran put it in the back of the net opposite of the diving Vegas.

The Loyal were in for another battle.

SA converted again in the 67th minute as defender Carter Manley nailed in the advantage off the header. SA took control right away in the second half, but the Loyal would not quit.

Just seven minutes after the goal, San Diego responded. Tumi Moshobane and Adrian Perez subbed in for Collier and Damus and immediately made an impact. Moshobane assisted to Perez for the goal to even the match.

That was Perez’s third goal of the season, and it could not have come at a better time for the Loyal.

The goal proved to be the dealbreaker as the Loyal finished in a draw yet again. This is not something to pout over, though, as SD faced the top two teams in the entire USL over the last three matches.

The next match for the Loyal is ten days from now, on Saturday, June 24, against Pittsburgh Riverhounds, SC.

Match News & Notes

  • Ronaldo Damus left the match with an undisclosed injury.
  • Nick Moon returned to the lineup after missing the last match due to a 1-game suspension.
  • Captain Charlie Adams missed Wednesday night’s match as he continues to deal with a lower-body injury.
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