Oakland Roots SC vs. San Diego Loyal SC
Wednesday, April 13 at 7 pm
Laney College Football Stadium
The Loyal travel to The Bay to take on Oakland Roots SC in a former divisional matchup
The San Diego Loyal are feeling great to start the 2022 campaign. They will visit the Oakland Roots, who are currently struggling to start the season.
The Locals’ home team is not only leading the Western Conference right now, but they own the top record in the USL Championship at (5-1-0), with 15 points and a (+7) goal difference.
As for the Roots, they are (0-3-2) with just the two points on the season. Their three losses and two draws put them at the bottom of the Western Conference and second to last overall. The good news for them is they haven’t lost in their last two matches, earning one point in each draw.
San Diego is 4-0 at home and 1-1 on the road. Their one win on the road came in Phoenix as they took down the Rising late in the match. Their loss came to FC Tulsa the game before the victory in Phoenix.
Last Time Out
The Loyal put on a shooting clinic as they defeated the Charleston Battery 4-1 at Torero Stadium last Saturday night. Kyle Vassell scored two goals, and his brace was a huge reason for the blowout win. Because of that, Vassell has been named to the Week 5 Team of the Week.
Tumi Moshobane and an own goal from Battery keeper Joe Kuminsky helped add to the advantage as the Loyal continue their hot run at Torero. SD now has 14 goals on the season, the most in the USL.
The Loyal defenders aren’t getting enough attention right now. Yes, San Diego is scoring goals and own the top goal difference in the league, but a major part of that is because of their well-balanced lineup. The reason goal differences even exist is because you need to be able to shut down the opponent. And that is exactly what the defenders and keeper Koke Vegas are doing.
Vegas is currently tied for 5th in the league in saves with 13 but only has the one clean sheet on the season that came against Sacramento Republic SC.
Manager Landon Donovan knows that they have had success to start this season. But the former USMNT star also understands that it’s simple … you take that the defense gives you. The Loyal are controlling teams because they are taking advantage of what is right in front of them.
“We’re not perfect yet,” Donovan said. “We’re striving to keep getting better and better but I thought (that) overall, we have taken what teams are giving us and punishing them. Almost every game this year, teams have come after us and pressed us, and we say no problem. We won’t be the San Diego Loyal of last year where we have all the ball, we’ll just go score four goals on you. So if teams do that, we’re doing a good job of punishing them and that’s important. You have to score the goals when they do that.”
Week 6 vs. Oakland Roots SC
San Diego will face another Eastern Conference opponent this Saturday, April 16, after their match with the Roots. That match could be a USL Championship Final preview as Louisville City is second in the power rankings, followed by the Loyal.
The focus is on Oakland, as even though they have a tough stretch of games to follow, they can’t get distracted.
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Oakland isn’t playing well right now, but they are also not playing horrible. SD Loyal started out last season (0-4), so they know more than anyone that anything can happen. The Roots’ three losses were all by just one goal. So, despite Oakland not scoring many goals, they aren’t allowing many either, with just a (-3) goal difference. Usually, you see a winless club with worse numbers.
The Bay Area is not any easy place to play either, as the club had troubles playing the Roots out there last season. SD and Oakland tied in the first match, but the Roots took down the Loyal 2-1 in the second match. SD is looking for their first win in Oakland as a club.
Juega con El Toro y te cuerna dos veces. 😈 pic.twitter.com/ao8ugcAcMJ
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) April 12, 2022
It’s a short week, so the players won’t be as healthy and ready as they could be. But the Loyal know that they are playing great soccer right now, so they must keep the same energy.
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.