San Diego settles for a road point in Vegas
Updated: Sep 10
San Diego scores, but can’t hold on.
A new look San Diego Loyal traveled to Las Vegas to take on the Lights. This time they actually got to play and Loyal got a taste of playing on a pretty small pitch against a Las Vegas team that has been playing fairly well as of late. Loyal featured one of their new signings in defender Tarek Morad and Miguel Berry got his second start. New signing Alejandro Guido was named in the team, but not in the starting XI.
The game started with a lot of questions on the pitch. Will San Diego get their offense going? How are they going to line up on the pitch? It didn’t take very long to answer the second one, while the first one was not answered in the first half. The new look Loyal transitioned to a four back system instead of the three that they had been playing. Coach Landon Donovan might be hoping the new system would spark some offense.
For another match, just after the 7:00 minute mark, players gathered at the center circle. This time they all took a knee to bring attention to equity and inclusivity issues. These issues have been at the forefront of soccer recently with the news out of Salt Lake regarding their owner and the terrible culture that he created.
Loyal looked better early as they had some good build up play and a couple of chances early. They pressured high up the pitch and were able to create a couple of turnovers, but still no shots on goal materialized.
While San Diego looked a little uninspired offensively, they did do fairly well on the defensive side. With a new tactical system and a change in the back line with Sal Zizzo getting a night off from starting, it could have been difficult. Las Vegas did manage 7 seven shots, only one was on target. Las Vegas has scored 14 goals entering the match, so holding that team to only 1 shot on target is a success. Both teams played hard but had to settle with a 0-0 scoreline entering the half.
The second half saw the debut of Alejandro Guido and he made an almost immediate impact to the attacking movement of Loyal. He wasn’t on for more than 10 minutes when a turnover put him clean in on goal. He centered a pass to Berry, but the ball was skipping and Berry put it over the bar. But Loyal would get one just a few minutes later.
This time it started with Miguel Berry and an amazing hustle play. The ball was headed out for a sure goal kick for Las Vegas, but Berry ran it down. It looked like he was gonna get to it to put it out for a throw in instead, but he managed to slide and stop the ball all in one motion. He then brought the ball forward and picked out a beautiful pass to Collin Martin. Martin had been playing much deeper this match, but he stepped beautifully into the space at the top of the 18. He took a touch and shot a beautiful looking shot into the goal!
After a slew of second half replacements from Las Vegas, they took over momentum. This was capped off by a goal in the 73rd minute by Blake Frischknecht. It was a bouncing ball that found its way through several Loyal defenders and he curled it just around Jon Kempin.
Loyal didn’t give up and it was clear both teams were going for the full 3 points. The last kick of the game looked like it was going to find the back of the net for San Diego, but Vegas keeper Thomas Olsen got just enough to tip it over and the game ended there at a 1-1 draw.
Typically, a draw on the road against Vegas would be a good thing, especially since both Orange County and Phoenix have dropped points there, but Loyal are running out of points to collect. Phoenix is on 20 and Orange County is on 18 after winning tonight. San Diego is on 13. That puts them 5 points behind OC and 2 points behind LA. LA and OC both have 2 games in hand.
Loyal have a full week to prepare for their next match, which will be on the road against Los Angeles Galaxy II.
57': Collin Martin (Miguel Berry) 73': Blake Frischknecht (Grant Robinson)