Torero Stadium- San Diego, Calif.
It was a sold-out crowd for SD Loyal SC as the team opened up their inaugural season against Las Vegas Lights FC at Torero Stadium. The game ended in a 1-1 tie, as both goals came in the first half. According to the team, San Diego had over 6,100 in attendance, as the fans wanted to be part of history.
Las Vegas FC made its debut in 2018, finishing with an 8-19-7 record, failing to reach the postseason in their first season. San Diego won all four of their preseason matches as they will use that momentum going into the season.
Manager Landon Donovan started the game with a 4-5-1 formation for “Team 1”. Jake Fenlason started in goal for the Loyal. San Diego native Sal Sizzo started alongside reigning 2018 Defender of the Year winner Joe Greenspan on the defensive side.
Former Las Vegas Lights player Carlos Alvarez got the start against his former team as a midfielder. Irvin Parra was the lone forward starting for the Loyal as he also was playing against his former club.
The Lights got on the board early with a laser shot in the 5th minute by forward Junior Burgos. Burgos caught Fenlason off guard and shot the ball from about 30 yards out as Torero Stadium suddenly went quiet.
San Diego would respond with the first-ever goal by the Loyal, with an unassisted goal by Charles Adams in the 15th minute to tie the score at one apiece.
Tucked in with a bit of HISTORY ?
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) March 8, 2020
Donovan expressed his joy for Adams scoring the first goal ever by a San Diego Loyal.
“I am really happy for Charlie,” Donovan said. “He got us on the score board and I wish we could have built a little more off that.”
In the 34th minute, starting defender, Joe Greenspan was replaced by defender Emrah Klimenta, as Greenspan went down with an injury. He was able to get back up on his feet and walk under his own power, but Donovan wasn’t going to take the chance with their next match just four days away.
In the 41st minute, Junior Sandoval missed a shot just to the left of the diving Fenlason. That was just about all the action in the first half as the score was 1-1 going into the break.
Not much action to start the second half as neither side could keep possession for more than about 10 seconds.
It was back and forth the entire second half as only a few shots were taken, and only two on goal by Las Vegas.
Both teams couldn’t find a way to score a winning goal, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Donovan’s first game as a manager is now under his belt. He described how he felt after his team’s performance tonight.
“I was a little disappointed,” Donovan said. “I think we can be better and the guys know that. They were probably a little excited and we never really took control of the game. We have a lot to learn, we are a new team, a young team and we have to get better.”
Adams talked about playing in front of the sold-out San Diego crowd for the first time.”It’s just great to be here,” Adams said. “It was great to play here in front of these fans who bring amazing energy to the game. They kept us going for the whole 90 minutes so it was just great to be here,” Adams said.
The next match for the Loyal is this Wed. March 11 on the road against the Tacoma Defiance. The next home game for San Diego is next Sat. March 14 against Rio Grande Valley FC at Torero Stadium.