San Diego Loyal seeks first road win of 2023 USL Championship season vs Phoenix Rising
The San Diego Loyal will play its second away game of the 2023 USL Championship season as Nate Miller’s team plays Phoenix Rising on the road this Saturday, April 1. (7:30 p.m. PST).
The match will be the Loyal’s fourth game this season, as the Southern California team has two wins and a loss to start its 2023 campaign.
San Diego is coming off a hard-fought 1-0 loss against the Sacramento Republic in a match that lacked much offensive production. The Loyal had just one shot on target in that match against the capital city side as goalkeeper Koke Vegas helped stay in the match.
There were some notable absences for San Diego as Kyle Adamas was with New Zealand in the international break, and captain Charlie Adams was coming back from an injury and stayed on the bench for 90 minutes. It will be interesting to see if coach Nate Miller changes his starting 11 as Ronaldo Damus, who already has a goal this season started the game against Sacramento on the bench.
Miller is yet to find his ideal starting lineup with a mix of Evan Conway, Elliot Collier, Adrien Perez, and Damus as offensive options. He has also toggled a lot with his backline, as there has not been a repeated defense in the three games played so far.
Phoenix Rising is off to a rough start this season with a 1-1 draw against Charleston and a 3-0 loss to San Diego at Torero Stadium. Based on the last time these two teams met, this has the potential to be a very winnable game for the Loyal, but the home-field advantage may have been a factor when the two teams first met.
Blake Bodily, Evan Conway, and Ronaldo Damus all scored against Phoenix at Torero Stadium, and the three will look to repeat that performance. Phoenix has some intriguing players on its roster, like Daniel Trejo, but the bifg difference between the Loyal and the Rising is clearly the midfield, as San Diego has a plethora of experience with players like Joe Corona, Alejandro Guido, and Charlie Adams.
Nate Miller has kept the midfield consistent in his starting lineups, as it is clearly the Loyals’ strongest component in this 2023 season.
Players to watch
Corona has a strong performance the first time San Diego and Phoenix met, as he contributed heavily to the favorable result at Torero Stadium. The San Diego native has been consistent all season long, as he clearly has the advantage over the Phoenix midfield in this matchup.
Damus is yet to receive a start this season, and this is clearly a great spot for him as he has already scored against the Rising. The Haitian forward offers plenty of speed and a potent strike in the attack that has the potential to develop as the season progresses.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.