Newly acquired players helped the San Diego Loyal end a victory drought Wednesday night as they scored three goals against a stifled LA Galaxy II.
It was the Loyal’s first win in USL Championship league play since beating the Las Vegas Lights 2-1 July 25 at USD’s Torero Stadium. The win also preserves the club’s hope of making the playoffs.
“I’m really happy for our group,” Loyal Coach Landon Donovan said after the game. “We are on the verge of breaking out.”
Loyal striker Miguel Berry scored twice — the first in the first minute of the game — at Dignity Health Sports Park. Berry signed with the team late last month.
Another San Diego newbie, Rubio Rubin, added to the scoring with his goal in the 20th minute to boost SD Loyal to 15 points in the 4-4-4 season so far.
Donovan added a trio of players. Berry, Rubin and Alejandro Guido were signed to help boost the team’s attack against LA Galaxy II (6-5-0, 18 points).
Berry put himself into the first-year club’s record book, scoring seconds into the game. Guido found Berry in the penalty box and Berry didn’t waste his chance, fired and buried a shot past “Los Dos” goalkeeper Abraham Romero inside the right post.
Berry’s score was not only the fastest in team history but also the first for the striker in his professional career.
Rubin extended the lead scoring in his debut. He took a cross from Jack Metcalf from right to left and tapped it in past Romero near the left post. Metcalf’s cross was pinpoint. All a wide-open Rubio had to do is tap it in as he charged the goal.
Berry helped create the play as he fed Metcalf wide from just outside the penalty box.
Berry scored his second of the night in the 38th minute. He took a filtered pass from near midfield and dribbled through the right side and charged into the six-yard box and fired a shot in between the goalkeeper’s legs for the 3-0 lead.
The scoring took place where Donovan became a Major League Soccer icon with the LA Galaxy.
Guido nearly scored from a spot Donovan had scored as a player. Guido tried a volley from about 30 yards out that forced Romero to dive back and slap the ball away, a minute after Berry’s second score.
All three newcomers were in the starting lineup as were Jon Kempin, Grant Stoneman, Elijah Martin, Jack Metcalf, Charlie Adams, Tarek Morad, Collin Martin and Morgan Hackworth.
San Diego prevailed against an LA Galaxy II team that beat Donovan’s squad the first time they met July 19 in San Diego. Both teams were supposed to meet again in late July, but a group of LA players tested positive for coronavirus, forcing a postponement.
Wednesday night, San Diego continued to dominate the ball in the second half, limiting LA Galaxy’s attempts. The home side finished the match with 10 men after Alejandro Alvarado was sent off in the 65th minute for a second yellow card.
SD Loyal now returns home to host Orange County at 7 p.m. Sunday at Torero Stadium in another Group B match.
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