SD Loyal Match Preview: Loyal play first away match of the season vs Sacramento Republic
The San Diego Loyal will play their third game of the USL Championship season this Saturday, March 25, as the Southern California team go up north to face Sacramento Republic.
Nate Miller’s team has done exceptionally well to start the 2023 season, with two wins from two games played and no goals conceded so far.
The Loyal started the 2023 campaign with a 1-0 win against Detroit City FC in front of a sold-out crowd at Torero Stadium as Jackson Kasanzu scored the game-winner. San Diego improved on that performance in Week 2 with a dominant 3-0 win against Phoenix Rising as Evan Conway, Ronaldo Damus, and Blake Bodily scored the goals in that match.
The offense is taking shape with some new signings from this season, like Ronaldo Damus, but the defense is clearly solidified early on. However, Kyle Adams will not be with the Loyal this week as he is currently with the New Zealand national team in the FIFA international break.
Grant Stoneman and Jackson Kasanzu will have a very important role in this match with Adams’ absence to try and keep the cleansheets going. Goalkeeper Koke Vegas has really played an important role so far, as he has been one of San Diego’s standout players.
Nate Miller is yet to establish a consistent starting 11 to begin the season, and he will make some changes for this match. Something that has remained consistent is the midfield partnership of Charlie Adams and Joe Corona, as the pair are likely to start against Sacramento Republic along with Alejandro Guido. Nate Miller has several attacking options, and it will be interesting to see if Ronaldo Damus gets the start for this match after scoring against Phoenix Rising.
Damus is one of the key players to watch in this match as he offers plenty of pace and offensive prowess to the Loyal’s lineup. The Hatian striker is a former USL champion and also offers plenty of experience despite being only 23 years old.
Sacramento Republic is also undefeated to start the 2023 season with a 1-0 win against El Paso and a 1-1 draw against Charleston. Midfielder Luis Felipe Fernandes did pick up a red card against Charleston and will subsequently be unavailable for Sacramento in this match against SD Loyal.
The Northern California team has also proven to have a strong defense so far, as this is set to be a very hard-fought match at Heart Health Park. Some of the standouts for Sacramento offensively include former Liga MX player Rodrigo Lopez and USL veteran Russell Cicerone, who scored against El Paso Locomotive in the season-opener. This will be a perfect first test on the road for an SD Loyal side, who has had the best possible start to the 2023 USL Championship season.
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.