SD Loyal defeat Real Monarchs SLC 1-0

Credit: SD Loyal

SD Loyal

For the first time since the pandemic, the San Diego Loyal suited up for a USL Championship match. This time, the team looked a little different than usual. The Loyal announced Thursday that Team 1 will be wearing a custom black kit honoring Black Lives Matter.

San Diego traveled to Salt Lake City (SLC) to take on the Real Monarchs, who are the reigning 2019 USL Champions. Despite the fact they are reigning champions, the Loyal held SLC scoreless as San Diego was determined to make a statement.

Not only did they beat the reigning champions, they decided to be the first sports club in America to have Black Lives Matter written on the back on the kit.

Manager Landon Donovan started the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Irvin Parra as the lone striker and goalkeeper Jon Kempin in goal.

Loyal top goal scorer so far this season Francis Atuahene started this game on the bench but substituted in late. It was a surprise to see him not in the lineup as he had a hot start to the season —scoring two goals last game — prior to the pandemic break.

This team is still only three games into the season so Donovan will surely be switching the starting nine up throughout the season.

The first and only score of the game came in the 16th minute as Grant Stoneman put in the header off the corner kick from Jack Metcalf. The corner kick was awarded when Parra went down in the box seconds earlier. The cross from Metcalf was precise, as it needs to be when converting a tricky corner kick.

In the 35th minute, a bit on confusion erupted as it seemed like SLC scored a goal on a cross as the ball went over the line, but the referee didn’t see the ball cross over and let the gameplay on instead.

Both teams had many chances for a goal as San Diego almost added on a few points to their lead late. SLC had some chances late as well but couldn’t convert.

The San Diego Loyal leave Utah with three points as that puts them in first place in the USL Championship standings with seven points. It has only been three matches but this team looks ready to compete as one of the best in the USL Championship.

The Loyal host LA Galaxy II Sunday, July 19 in Torero Stadium. The match starts at 7 pm and can be seen on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. As of now, fans will not be allowed in the stadium.

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Chris Spiering
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.
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