SD Loyal vs. FC Tulsa Preview

Credit: ESPN

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Credit: Jeremy Collins/ EVT Sports

San Diego Loyal looks to return to winning ways against FC Tulsa

The San Diego Loyal started their season in the best possible fashion, picking up wins against Detroit City and Phoenix Rising FC in their first two games.

However, they fell to defeat in Sacramento before scoring two goals in the final 20 minutes to salvage a point in a second early season fixture with Phoenix. That saw the Loyal slide into third place in the Western Conference, three points off the top spot. 

FC Tulsa also sits in third place as they play in the Eastern Conference. They’ve played five games, three of which have finished with the score level. Their extra game is a major part of why they sit high in the table, as many other teams have played fewer games. FC Tulsa is coming off a stunning loss to semi-professional Tulsa Athletic in the U.S. Open Cup. That upset means that FC Tulsa can focus all their efforts on the USL season, but it also shows they’re struggling to find their form.

Last Time Out

The San Diego Loyal is also coming off a mid-week U.S. Open Cup match, albeit one that went much more successfully than FC Tulsa’s efforts. San Diego handled Albion San Diego in the second round, beating them comfortably, 2-0. The Loyal took a 25th-minute lead with a penalty from Charlie Adams before Evan Conway doubled their advantage early in the second half. 

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San Diego manager Nate Miller put together a lineup that featured many of their younger reserve players, but they still were able to handle Albion San Diego comfortably, setting up a third-round date with the MLS Seattle Sounders. 

Meet FC Tulsa

FC Tulsa finished eighth place in the USL’s eastern conference last season, the first place out of the postseason. However, they were 12 points behind Detroit City, who finished seventh. FC Tulsa is led by Rodrigo da Costa, their number 10. He’s a talented midfielder who has played for FC Tulsa since 2019. Da Costa has 113 appearances for the club, including 32 goals for the side. He’s already picked up two goals this season, and he’ll be a crucial player for the Loyal to try and shut down. 

In every league game this season, FC Tulsa has utilized a 4-2-3-1 formation, but they strayed from that in their U.S. Open Cup loss. They employed a 4-5-1 formation, so it’ll be interesting to see if they choose to return to their 4-2-3-1 that has been far more successful.

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