Irvin Parra scored the tie-breaking goal in the 65th minute as San Diego Loyal rebounded from the first loss in its brief history with a 2-1 victory over the Las Vegas Lights Saturday at Torero Stadium.
Parra headed in a left-footed cross from Tumi Moshobane four minutes after entering the game. The goal was the first for Parra in his three appearances with SD Loyal (3-1-1). He scored a team-leading 15 goals in 31 games for Lights FC in 2019.
“Tumi’s played really well for the last two weeks and really wanted to reward himself with a great performance,” said SD Loyal coach Landon. “He made a great play on the side here to get off a cross and also, Irvin, probably in the last three weeks has been incredible teammate. He’s really helped this team out and we’re all very happy for him because he deserved to score. It was a great finish and a big, big, three points for us.”
Moshobane opened the scoring in the ninth minute on a left-footed shot for his first goal after his header went off the crossbar.
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Rashawn Dally tied the score for Lights FC in the sixth minute of stoppage time in the first half on a rebound of a shot by Jose Carrera-Garcia on a sequence that began with SD Loyal goalkeeper Jon Kempin stopping a penalty kick by Carrera-Garcia and Carrera-Garcia’s left-footed shot on the rebound of the penalty kick.
Lights FC was awarded the penalty kick when SD Loyal defender Grant Stoneman was called for a handball in the penalty area.
“It’s really hard to giving up a goal going into halftime especially when we played pretty well with stretches in the first half,” Donovan said. “The message was ‘forget about it.’ It’s over, there’s nothing else we can do so we got to get ourselves over it and play well again … win the game and that’s what they did and really proud of them.”
Dally was making his debut with the USL Championship team following his loan from Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati.
SD Loyal was outshot, 21-12. Both teams had five shots on goal.
Kempin made four saves. Lights FC goalkeeper Edward Delgado made three.
“We weren’t perfect but I felt that they competed really well,” said Donovan, whose team lost 1-0 to LA Galaxy II last Sunday. “Technically, they are really starting to understand what we’re trying to do and if you mix those two things you have a good chance to win every week.”
The game was the first for Lights FC (0-1-1) since a 1-1 tie with SD Loyal March 7 at Torero Stadium before a capacity crowd announced at 6,100.
Like most other sporting events around the world, fans were barred from Saturday night’s Division II men’s soccer game under public health directives prohibiting public events and gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The loss spoiled Frank Yallop’s debut as Lights FC coach. He replaced Eric Wynalda, who was fired June 17 for violating rules related to USL Championship’s return-to-play guidelines, owner Brett Lashbrook said.
“It was a good game,” Yallop said. “I think we deserved more than we got. I was proud of the guys that kept going. We had some great chances to equalize but it just wasn’t our night tonight.”
Yallop coached Donovan with the San Jose Earthquakes from 2001-03, winning the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003, and with the Galaxy from 2006-07. He also coached the Canadian men’s national team and the Chicago Fire.
Yallop will coach Lights FC for the remainder of the season but will not be pursuing the permanent position once the season concludes.
SD Loyal visits LA Galaxy II Wednesday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
— City News Service contributed to this report.