The San Diego Loyal get ready for their first home match of the season after four straight on the road
Playing in front of home fans is important for the game of soccer. The Loyal will finally get the chance to do so when they host Las Vegas on Saturday.
San Diego hosted the Lights for their inaugural match last season when they finished a 1-1 draw. Midfielder Charlie Adams scored the equalizer for the first goal in club history.
A year later, and with a completely different roster, the Loyal return home looking to earn their first point(s) of the 2021 season. The first four matches have not gone the way the team would have liked, but struggles are going to happen, and it’s better that it is happening early in the season.
Las Vegas started the 2021 season, losing their first three matches. The Lights have not played well on both sides of the pitch and enter this matchup with a (-11) goal difference. The Loyal sit at a (-7) goal difference while playing in one more game than Vegas.
This is a very winnable matchup for manager Landon Donovan and his squad. The offense has failed to set the tone early in the season, but going against these Vegas defenders could lead to some extra goals. The Loyal need a spark, something to light the fuse as they have some catching up to do in the standings. This could be a perfect opportunity to turn things around and earn their first win of the new season.
San Diego adds three MLS players to the roster before Saturday’s match
The Loyal announced Friday that they have signed midfielder Miguel Ibarra pending league approval. Ibarra joins the team after playing with Club Leon of Liga MX, as well as MLS’s Minnesota United FC and Seattle Sounders FC. The native Californian capped with the USMNT on three occasions from 2014-2015 and has been one of the few American second-division players called to the national team. Ibarra has 41 professional goals in his career.
Returning to the team is forward Miguel Berry, who is on loan from Columbus Crew. Berry joined the Loyal late last season as they were making a playoff run and contributed with three goals in seven appearances. The former University of San Diego Torero was drafted 7th overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew. Berry is also a Poway native and returns home looking to help the Loyal early in the season.
Defender Jack Maher is also heading to San Diego off loan from Nashville, SC. Maher is just 21 years of age and was the 2nd overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, just five spots ahead of Berry. He’ll help contribute to an already improving defensive unit for the Loyal.
“Part of the DNA of SD Loyal is helping players move on to the next level,” Landon Donovan said. “We’ve proven that we’re true to that with Rubio Rubin and Jon Kempin. Having Miguel Ibarra, Miguel Berry and Jack Maher join the club not only helps us, but helps them to continue to grow and develop for the next level.”
The roster now has a little added depth, giving some of these starters a chance for some extra rest during this long season. Expect all three of these signings to earn minutes and contribute right away. Berry has been here before and knows the reigns better than most of the roster. Ibarra will bring veteran leadership while Maher brings star potential to the defensive unit.
The match starts at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+ as well as Fox 5 San Diego.