SD Loyal Earn Point On The Road That Should Have Been Three
The match between San Diego Loyal and Orange County SC ended in a 0-0 tie as both teams earned one point and the recognition of having strong defenses.
USL Championship Match Coverage: A missed scoring chance and a blown call in the final minutes were the difference between San Diego Loyal leaving with one point instead of three points and having to settle for a scoreless draw against Group B competitor Orange County SC on Saturday night. The match was played in Irvine, California in a near-empty stadium.
Just as before in previous games against their rivals from the North, San Diego Loyal’s squad is led by the legendary US Men’s National Team former star, Landon Donovan.
The team more than held their own against their I-5 rivals in Orange County and the players were able to prevent any breakaway opportunities which were their undoing during their earlier encounter on August 12 when the Loyals lost 0-2.
SD Loyal goalkeeper Jon Kempin made his first start in almost a month and kept the opponents off the scoreboard with great saves including blocking an attempted header from Orange County SC’s midfielder and former San Diego Zest standout Brian Iloski in the 74th minute.
San Diego Loyal would yet again create scoring chances, including a breakaway opportunity in the 67th minute, that were not capitalized on by their recently signed striker Miguel Berry. The team acquired Berry on loan from MLS’ Columbus Crew and will be with the squad for the rest of the season. The Spanish-American footballer is a former USD Torero and 2019-All American. The 22-year-old Black & Gold forward was recruited 7th overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft after leading the country with 42 points as a college senior and is looking for game minutes and to make an impact at the Loyals. This was Berry’s debut, and he was eager to help SD Loyal score but was unable to find the back of the net. Suffering a very ugly spill early in the first half of the game, Berry flipped 360 degrees and land on his back after making a play for the ball.
“Proud of the guys for fighting ninety-plus minutes,” said Kempin who is an Academy product of and homegrown player from Sporting KC.
“A little unlucky at the end to not get a call our way … we won’t stop fighting. “Jon Kemplin, SD Loyal goalkeeper
Despite OCSC’s strong defenses, San Diego Loyal had two opportunities to win the game in the final minutes. The first chance came from a great ball sent into the box from midfielder Charlie Adams which found the striker Ben Spencer who completely whiffed on it, despite being completely uncovered.
The second and final opportunity came in the very last play of the game, six minutes into injury time when a clear handball was not called by referee Samantha Martinez, despite the fact that the arm was not only semi-extended from the Orange County player’s body but also in an unnatural position.
San Diego Loyal players were clearly upset after the no-call, but their complaints went unheard.
With 12 points, SD Loyal (3-4-3) now finds itself in fourth in the rankings of the Group B standings. LA Galaxy II just defeated Las Vegas Lights 4-3 and takes second place in the standings with Orange County SC (4-1-3) in third place. On the top of the Group B chart, Phoenix Rising with a total of 20 points, fell against Group A leader Reno 1868 in their most recent match.
Before today’s match against Galaxy II, Las Vegas had been undefeated in their last three matches, defeating Orange County and Portland Timbers II and a dramatic, last-second tie against Phoenix Rising.
San Diego Loyal now travels to face the much improved Las Vegas Lights for the third and final time this season this Wednesday night.