San Diego Settle for Debut Point
The crowd was buzzing as San Diego Loyal Soccer Club took to the pitch for the very first time this past Saturday. Their inaugural opponent would be Las Vegas Lights Football Club, and both teams looked to get 2020 started off on the right foot. Las Vegas tried to do that right away.
On opening kick, Las Vegas’s second touch was a shot on target to test Loyal keeper Jake Fenlason, and the game was off. It was not very long for Vegas to find success, and it was on another long attempt at goal. It was the 4th minute that saw Junior Burgos take a ball just passed midfield and pushed into empty space. Loyal defender Grant Stoneman was late to step up, so Burgos took a shot at goal. Fenlason, being caught out, scrambled back, but it was over his head and it hit the cross bar and dropped into the goal. Almost before supporters found their seats, Loyal was down by a goal.
San Diego looked to get back in the match, but was not having a lot of success. It was a mistake from Vegas that ended up helping San Diego. A bad clearance saw Charlie Adams take a brilliant touch to control the ball and he placed a nice shot to the low right. Vegas Goalkeeper Lalo Delgado did not even react and San Diego was on the board for the first time ever and San Diego was level in the 15th minute.
The 34th minute saw another scary moment for the San Diego supporter, but it was not a goal. 2019 USL Defender of the Year Joe Greenspan was subbed off after taking an injury what appeared to be his right leg. It is a blow, but Emrah Klimenta filled in very nicely. Greenspan is a big target on set pieces, and San Diego did look to have some issues there, but Klimenta will have to step up.
While the first half seemed to set the stage for an exciting night with a lot of goals, the rest of the game was a little underwhelming. While San Diego only gave up a couple of chances in the second half and the back half looked solid, the offensive third was where SD Loyal had their biggest issues.
There were a couple bright spots, with Irvin Parra pressing high, a lot of the team looked a little off. Qudus Lawall lacked the magic he showed during the preseason. Raul Mendiola had chances, but could not quite get passes through. Carlos Alvarez had an off night as well. Tumi Moshobane and Francis Atuahene were both subbed on and looked promising, but Francis’s touch was a little heavy at times.
In the 86th minute, Parra did have a good chance, but after a great back heel cut back, Vegas defenders were able to recover to stop his shot attempt. The second half showed SD Loyal to be pretty solid in defense, but pretty wasteful in the final third. It showed some promise, and in future games they might be able to put it together to get that second goal.
Outside of a 40 yard wonder goal, San Diego fared well. Fenlason was able to make a couple of quality saves to keep Vegas off the board. The shot statistics look very one sided, but most of Vegas’s shots were from range and not close to hitting the target at all. Overall not a great night, but not a bad one either.
After the match we caught up with Charlie Adams. He reflected on the goal saying, “Personally, it’s great” He went on to add some perspective, “it’s about the team and it’s unlucky we didn’t get the win tonight. We’ll have to work on a few things and keep improving.”
Supporters felt disappointed the team could not come away with a victory after a promising preseason display, but there were some bright spots that SD Loyal can build upon. They have a chance to do just that on Wednesday when they travel to take on Tacoma Defiance. Kick-off will be 7:00 pm.
4’ Junior Burgos
15’ Charlie Adams
29’: Junior Sandoval (Yellow)
55’: Javan Torre (Yellow)
90’+3’: Grant Stoneman (Yellow)