SD Loyal SC defeat LA Galaxy II, 2-1

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Loyal vs LA
Credit: Cali Camera/ EVT Sports

The San Diego Loyal open up the 2022 season with a huge win over rival Los Angeles.

What a match! The score was 1-1 until less than a minute in stoppage time when LA knocked in an own goal to give the Loyal the 2-1 lead. The Loyal earned a much-needed three points and earned their first season-opener win as a club.

Manager Landon Donovan issued a 4-2-3-1 formation with newly added Koke Vegas, who started in goal. Kyle Vassell also started at forward for his regular-season debut.

The match started with a lot of aggression. San Diego found their rhythm quickly and attempted three shots in the first 18 minutes. When the 19th-minute cane around, Vassell found himself open and put in the back of the net. Unfortunately, the side official blew Vassell offsides which had to be only by a few inches. SD had a quick 1-0 advantage taken away from them.

In the 24th minute, SD came close to another goal as Vassell just missed the header as it was deflected off the keeper above the crossbar. Moments later, after the corner kick, Vassell and defender Liam Doyle for LA got into an altercation resulting in both receiving yellow cards.

Vassell was everywhere in the first 30. His presence is surely seen early for SD.

Loyal vs LA
Credit: Cali Camera/ EVT Sports

As the 40th minute came round, the aggressive attack remained the same. One thing is for sure about these two squads is that they do not like each other. The pushing and shoving continued, but the head referee continued to let them play, keeping the cards in his pocket.

The first half ended 0-0, but it felt like SD had most of the momentum. The Loyal controlled the possession by a narrow advantage while both sides had at least four shot attempts with two on target.

The second 45 started out just as the first 45 did. Both teams played aggressively, and the comradery continued. It seemed like the head ref blew the whistle every other minute for a foul.

Vassell’s debut ended early as Thomas Amang replaced him in the 67th minute. Despite not scoring, Vassell made an impact in the first hour.

And what do you know… Amang got the scoring started with the first goal of the 2022 season and his first in a Loyal kit. San Diego had a late one-goal advantage.

Here is what Amang had to say about his first action and goal for San Diego.

“For me it was important because I have been playing for a while,” Amang said. “It’s important to move forward because the season is going to be long and I am looking forward to every game. I’m going to give my best and help my teammates every chance I can.”

That advantage didn’t last long, however, as LA evened the score on a breakaway goal. With only ten men due to a red card, LA managed to outrun the Loyal defenders and tie it up.

That goal silenced the entire stadium, but it was only a matter of time before they were cheering again. Regular time ended, and they went to stoppage time. After about four minutes of play, San Diego punished the Galaxy II defenders by crowding the box and forcing an own goal. That own goal for LA proved to be the game-winner for the Loyal.

Donovan had high praise for Amang and Vassell tonight.

“Kyle and Thomas are both fantastic tonight,” Donovan said. “I’d have to be a real idiot to not put (Amang) in the game. Vassell gave them fits for the entire 65 minutes and he just wore them out and that allowed Thomas to come in and get the glory.”

Because of his debut, Amang earned Man of the Match.

The next match for the Loyal is at home next Saturday, March 19, against Sacramento Republic FC.

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News and notes

  • Midfielder Jack Blake did not suit up for the opener as he missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
  • Defender Jack Metcalf returned to the pitch after missing the second half of the 2021 season, undergoing shoulder surgery. He started at right-back.
  • Alejandro Guido was issued a yellow card in the 71st minute.
  • LA ended the night with four yellow cards.

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