SD Loyal host reigning USL Championship title winners

Credit: ESPN+

Credit: Josh Jimenez/ EVT Sports

San Diego Loyal SC vs. Orange County SC

Wednesday, June 29 at 7 pm

Torero Stadium – University of San Diego


Orange County SC heads down the I-5 to take on the Loyal for the first time in 2022

San Diego Loyal fans certainly remember the exciting matchups between these two squads in 2021.

Orange County won the last two matches and used those crucial six points to work their way to winning the entire league. In a tough USL Championship, OC upset many teams to raise the trophy.

This will be the first time these two sides meet this season. The Loyal are currently third in the Western Conference with 28 points and a (+11) goal difference. Sacramento Republic FC and El Paso Locomotive also have 28, but the Loyal have the advantage with goal difference and fewer matches played. SD is only five points from second place Colorado Springs and six points from first place San Antonio FC.

Orange County is struggling this season as many of their stars from last year didn’t return. However, they won their last match 3-1 against Loudoun United Fc. OC is in 12th place in the conference with 17 points and a (-3) goal difference.

With these two teams on opposite ends of the conference, it’s proves to be a crucial match for both sides. The Loyal need this win to climb the rankings as they face Colorado Springs twice in the next four matches. As for OC, they need this win to build on two solid performances as they look to get back into the conference picture.

Last Time Out

The San Diego Loyal are coming off of a huge win against Indy XI, where they won by a massive score of 5-0. That performance is at the top-of-the-top in their three seasons as a club.

Forward Kyle Vassell showcased another brace with his 9th and 10th goal on the year. Vassell is now just one goal behind Oakland Roots’ Óttar Magnús Karlsson for the most goals on the season. Loyal forward Thomas Amang also scored his 6th goal of the season, putting him tied for 14th.

Taking Down The Champs

These two teams are familiar with each other. It will be interesting to see how Manager Landon Donovan gameplays this time around, as he is aware that this isn’t the same team as last season.

The manager shared his thoughts on his player’s health and effort at this point in the campaign.

“It’s a progression of the season,” Donovan said. “In the early part of the season, with tons of games, we didn’t have time to train and we weren’t fully healthy. Now, we have lots of healthy guys and it creates good competition. And then we’ve had the opportunity to train multiple weeks in a row which has helped us a lot.”

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Health is a huge part of this sport. If you aren’t fully prepared to run for 90 minutes, then you won’t be playing. Donovan is utilizing his full roster this season as many players have played in multiple matches.

The tactics are working. The Loyal are tied with El Paso for the most team goals on the year with 36. However, the Loyal is only tied for 10th in shots attempted with 199. Who will attempt the 200th shot of the season?

With a win during the midweek, the Loyal will have won three of their last four.

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