San Diego Loyal spoil New Mexico United’s home opener with 1-1 draw
San Diego Loyal and New Mexico United met for the 4th time in the USL Championship, and there has yet to be crowned a winner.
Saturday night’s action finished with a draw for the 4th time, and I’m sure the Loyal will take it, considering the circumstances.
New Mexico played their Home Opener at “The Lab,” that sold-out over 11,ooo tickets. The baseball stadium was packed, and the atmosphere was electric. However, the pitch looked rough out there. The dirt was covered by patches of grass, and it’s not ideal that professionals are forced to play on that field. Yet, the Loyal escaped The Lab with one point, which gives them 11 for the season.
San Diego improved to (3-1-2) with 11 points and is now tied with San Antonio FC and Sacramento Republic for first place in the Western Conference. However, once Sacramento Republic and Colorado Springs finish late Saturday night, one of those two teams will jump to sole possession of first place in the conference.
Head coach Nate Miller and the Loyal must be thrilled this match is over. New Mexico outplayed them in the first half and jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the 9th minute from Sam Hamilton. The Loyal had a tough time defending on the patches of grass, and NMU took advantage of it early on.
Koke Vegas played what may be considered one of the better matches of his career. He kept the Loyal in the match the entire time and saved countless shots. The Loyal blocked seven shots altogether as the United finished with 14 shot attempts from inside the box. The defense was able to get the job done in the end, despite a rough start to the match.
Evan Conway nailed in the only goal of the match for the Loyal, which came seconds before the whistle for halftime.
Moments before the whistle, we make it equal.#NMvSD | 1-1 pic.twitter.com/FCbClKTNbw
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) April 16, 2023
Conway now leads the team with three goals so far on the season and is expected to score many more.
The next match for the Loyal is at Torero Stadium next Sunday, April 23, at 3 pm. They will host the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are known to be one of the top teams in the USL year after year.
News and Notes
- Alejandro Guido and Ebenezer Ackon missed the match with lower body injuries.
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.