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Home Is Where The Heart Is

San Diego gets their first win in their home opener

San Diego Loyal returned home for the first time in almost 450 days as they again welcomed Las Vegas Lights. San Diego hoped that their 2nd home game every would be better than their first which saw them fight back for a draw.

To say this season so far has been frustrating would be an understatement. After being played off the pitch their first game of the season, it’s been more bad luck and small lapses of judgement that have cost them points this season. The team had plenty of good looks this season, but they haven’t been able to consistently find the back of the net.

Bringing back Alejandro Guido and adding Jack Blake and Corey Hertzog seemed to be a winning combination on paper, but they haven’t been living up to the offensive hype that surrounded the team during the season. Loyal was hoping their home fans and that energy would change that and get their first win of the season.

Alejandro Guido finds space (Courtesy of San Diego Loyal)

Guido, after the match said the fans “get you more energy. When you are in the 60th-70th minute and your legs are getting tired, they just push you, and you can hear it, and it’s just inspiring.” He continued to sing the supporters praises saying that it “changes everything…I missed that”.

San Diego started out with a lot of energy and looked like they were going score an early goal. But, again, Loyal did not finish any of their chances early. The team found a lot of space on the wings with Jack Metcalf and newly signed Miguel Ibarra playing along either touchline. The crosses came in fast and fierce, but they couldn’t quite get a good shot on target.

It was a brief moment of lack of attention that cost Loyal again this match. Las Vegas had a quick throw in and it caught Loyal out a bit. Cal Jennings just managed to get around another new Loyal player, Jack Maher. Maher, who otherwise had a great debut, couldn’t recover forcing Thomas Vancaeyezeele to step toward Jennigs which left Alvaro Quezada open for an easy tap in. Loyal were behind again.

The difference this time was the energy they found from the home supporters. The other difference was the 55th minute substitute Miguel Berry. His run into the box pulled four Las Vegas defenders toward their goal. Meanwhile Alejandro Guido held up his run to find space outside the 18 yard box and opened his hips late to put a great shot to the far post, pulling Loyal level at one goal each.

Miguel Ibarra in the box (Courtesy of San Diego Loyal)

In the 69th minute, Corey Hertzog and Tumi Moshobane came on to the pitch and again changed the complexion of the match. Tumi and Corey teamed up for a nice give and go, leading to a foul just outside the 18. Jack Blake took the free kick, but Vegas’s wall was up to the task.

It looked as if Loyal wouldn’t quite have enough to get over the line, as again, the bounces weren’t quite going their way. It was right before stoppage time that showed Loyal supporters exactly the kind of play they had been waiting for all season.

Newly subbed defender Josh Yaro started the play as he stepped up and brought the ball forward and played a perfect cross pitch pass to Moshobane. Tumi gave his defender a great shoulder shimmy and beat him cleanly down the left side of the pitch. He then put a wonderful ball into the box where several players had chances at the ball. Vegas keeper Alex Rando did his absolute best to keep the ball out of the net, but it fell to Corey Hertzog who finally put the ball away, scoring his first goal of the season to put Loyal up 2-1 and on their way to the first win of the season.

Corey Hertzog celebrates the game winning goal. (Courtesy of San Diego Loyal)

Hertzog spoke after the match about the early frustrations, “Wednesday, Thursday we were talking at training and we said, one of these balls is going to fall there and we are going tap it in and get the monkey off our back. Hopefully we can keep true to that and keep it going.”

Coach Nate Miller, filing in for Landon Donovan who was serving a one game suspension from receiving a red card in Louisville last week, spoke after the match. Here is his comments about the home fans:

He also praised the team's pressure “I thought our high pressing was good…their goal was totally against the run of play, but I think we did a good job just sticking to the game plan and eventually the game plan…and eventually the right outcome came.” Hopefully this game is a microcosm of this season. Trust the system and eventually the right outcome will come.


17’: Alvaro Quezada (Cal Jennings)

56’: Alejandro Guido (Jack Blake)

87’: Corey Hertzog (Jack Metcalf)

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