San Diego Loyal Survive in Salt Lake
Loyal win a controversial game in USL Championship’s first match back since the league was shut down in March.
San Diego Loyal traveled to Salt Lake City to face the reigning USL Champion Real Monarchs to restart the USL Championship season. It was a hot day in Salt Lake and it was Real Monarchs who looked the better team at the start. San Diego looked a little rusty and they almost conceded in the 2nd minute.
San Diego snapped to life in the 8th minute when Eric Avila fed Irvin Parra at the top of the box. He put a good shot on goal, but Real keeper Jimmy Slayton came up with a big stop. The rebound found Tumi Moshobane who looked primed to put it in, but he caught it awkward and pushed it wide.
Three minutes later the chance came to Collin Martin. He took an extra touch and put it on frame, but again, it did not challenge the Monarch’s keeper. San Diego kept up the pressure and looked the much better team going forward. After another chance it was a corner kick that lead to the first strike of the USL restart.
In the 17th minute, Jack Metcalf put a beautiful ball in from a corner. Grant Stoneman beat his man to the spot and redirected the ball into the back of the net to put San Diego up a goal to none.
Real Monarchs went on the attack and tried to pull themselves back to even. After the hydration break Real looked like they were going to get one. In the 35th minute, it looked like they did. Real put a cross it and it was put on frame, but it hit the crossbar and bounced down toward the line and then back out away from goal. Monarch players raised their arms to call for the goal, but no call came from the match officials. This wasn’t going to be the only time San Diego escaped a controversy.
The second half started with San Diego looking to defend and then attack. They played some great defense and Joe Greenspan showed, several times, why he was defender of the year last year. The game did get chippy with heavier challenges and more physical play.
In the 65th minute Joe Greenspan fought two dragons single handed at midfield. He dueled with the winged beasts for at least 20 minutes. Using the skills he learned in the Navy and his superior defensive skills he rose to the challenge to vanquish the beasts. ESPN, probably, afraid of showing such an incredible battle that could have gone terribly bad, cut the feed. We can assume that Greenspan won the battle, as he was still on the field when the stream came back on.
In the 86th minute, San Diego was again the beneficiary of another controversial call. This time it was Jack Metcalf, who was standing on the goal line, cleared a shot away with his thigh. No goal was called on the field, and it looked like they escaped giving up the equalizing goal again.
There was seven minutes of stoppage time, and San Diego was successful in killing it off to secure their second win in three games. They are currently in first place in Group B with 7 points. Their next game will be against a fellow team from Group B in Los Angeles Galaxy 2. The game will be at USD at 7 pm. Fans will not be allowed.
17’ Grant Stoneman (Jack Metcalf)