The Tacoma Defiance defeats the Loyal for the second time this season in a back-and-forth battle.
It was a tale of two halves Thursday night as the match came down to the wire. The first half was slow, but the second 45 provided three goals and some pushing and shoving late in the match.
The Defiance played like the batter team, but the two goals the Loyal conceded did look like mistakes on their part.
San Diego falls to (6-6-3) but remains in third place in the Pacific Division with 21 points. Tacoma moves to (4-4-4) with 16 points and is still fifth in the division.
Donovan decided to rest most of his usual starters for the first hour, allowing the rest of the squad to get much-needed playing time. He issued a 4-4-2 formation with Trey Muse remaining in goal for the Loyal. Forwards Chase Boone and Ben Spencer started up front, while Haji Abdikadir made his Loyal debut as a midfielder. Defender Sal Zizzo returned to the starting XI for the second time this season and wore the captain’s armband.
With the next match just three days away, resting most of the starting XI made a lot of sense, though the result wasn’t what they wanted.
The first half ended scoreless and didn’t provide much action at all. Possession ended almost dead, even with Tacoma creating nine shot-attempts and San Diego four. None of the four were on target for the Loyal. Tacoma seemed to be the more aggressive team in the first 45, but the Loyal defenders played well, not allowing the Defiance to score.
Defender Jack Metcalf, midfielder Jack Blake, and defender Elijah Martin all started the second half for the Loyal.
Tacoma started the second half with a bang as they connected in the 50th minute. Azriel Gonzalez found the back of the net from close range and gave Tacoma a 1-0 lead.
Tacoma almost scored again four minutes later but missed just inches to the left of a diving Muse.
The Loyal responded with a goal of their own in the 55th minute, right after that near miss from Tacoma. Tumi Moshobane connected with a beautiful header off the assist from Miguel Ibarra, leveling the match at a critical time.
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That is not an easy goal from Moshobane and will likely be discussed as a potential Goal of the Week nominee. Interestingly enough, all three of his goals this season came off a header.
The goals kept coming in the second half. Tacoma took a late lead in the 65th minute from Jose Carlos Anguiano, as they put one past Muse for the second time. That would be the last goal of the match for both sides, but that 15-minute span provided a lot of action.
The Defiance would eventually hold on for the victory. The Loyal continued to press forward and create opportunities but couldn’t convert. That is two straight losses for the Loyal, who were very close to first place just last week.
The next match for the Loyal is on the road Sunday, August 1, against LA Galaxy II. The match starts at 5 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+ as well as Fox 5 San Diego.
Additional News and Notes
- Right around the 70th minute, Grant Stoneman was removed from the match after getting hit in the head with a lining shot attempt.
- Morgan Hackworth received a red card late in the match and will be forced to miss Sunday’s match.