SD Loyal SC defeat Las Vegas Lights FC 2-1 in home opener

Credit: SD Loyal

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Credit: SD Loyal

A comeback victory for the Loyal earns their first three points of the season.

The atmosphere in Torero Stadium was electric all night. From the Locals cheering their chants to the rest of the supporters cheering on, the Loyal felt comfortable playing at home for the first time all season. The total attendance was just over 2,000 fans, but it felt like more.

Manager Landon Donovan was issued a red card in the last match against Louisville City FC, and because of that, was not able to manage in the home opener against the Lights. Assistant coach Nate Miller took over the duties and led the Loyal to their first win.

Miller issued a 4-4-2 formation with Trey Muse remaining in goal for the Loyal. Miguel Ibarra started his first match at forward just a few days after signing with the club. 21-year-old defender Jack Maher also started in his first match after recently joining the club off loan.

The Loyal started firing on all cylinders as they attempted six shots with three on target early on. The possession was flowing, and the offense was creating chance after chance. The ball had yet to find the back of the net for San Diego, but they stayed aggressive throughout the first half.

Las Vegas connected on their one and only shot attempt in the first half. In the 17th minute, Alvaro Quezada sliced one passed Muse to take an early lead.

San Diego wouldn’t stop attacking and continued to dominate possession 59% to 41% in the first half. They couldn’t get a goal to go in but played like the better team.

Much like the first half, the second half proved the Loyal was the better team. The Loyal defenders were stopping every chance the Lights were trying to create while creating chances for their own. Defenders Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Maher controlled the back end while also using their power to launch the ball onto the other side of the pitch to create chances to score.

Attacking midfielder Alejandro Guido scored his first goal as a member of the club in the 56th minute, tying the match at one.

The Chula Vista native was relieved to have his first goal finally.

“I said ‘oh my god’ I couldn’t believe it, Guido said.” “It just didn’t want to go in and look at the kind of luck were having. We stuck through it. We were patient and we were able to find a goal.”

The next 30 minutes kept everybody on the edge of their seats. With the way the Loyal we’re playing, everyone expected San Diego to connect with one more goal and win the match. It was almost like it was meant to be because in the 87th minute, just before stoppage time, Corey Hertzog found an open area in the back of the next and tapped it in to take a 2-1 lead late in the match.

The Loyal crowded the keeper with 3-4 players, all within a few feet of each other. Tumi Moshobane made an incredible move to slip past the defender on the left side of the box and crossed it into the penalty area where the Loyal had a few chances to score. Finally, Hertzog managed to slip one past the keeper, and the supporters jumped for joy.

Hertzog also scored his first goal of the season and as a member of the club.

Hertzog had thoughts about playing in front of the fans for the first time in over a year.

“Oh it’s unbelievable, Hertzog said.” “The fans have stuck with us over the last four weeks which was really hard but that is what they deserved tonight.”

The final three whistles blew just a few minutes later, and the Loyal had secured their first win of the season. This performance is by far their best of the season, as they needed those three points to move up in the standings.

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San Diego finished with 21 shot attempts with ten on target. The offense is improving, just like Donovan said it would. The team is staying patient, and it is paying off.

The next match for the Loyal is Saturday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. They will travel back to Phoenix to take on the first-place Rising. The Rising is (4-1-0) and sit atop the Pacific Division standings with 12 points. The Loyal remain in 7th place with three points and are (1-4-0).

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