Chula Vista native Alejandro Guido scored a pair of goals to lead the San Diego Loyal to a 2-0 victory Sunday against Orange County in a USL Championship match at USD’s Torero Stadium.
Guido — a product of Mater Dei Catholic High School — celebrated his right-footed goal in the 41st minute. The midfielder, on loan from MLS club Los Angeles, also scored in the 65th minute to keep the first-year team’s playoff hopes alive.
The Loyal (5-4-4, 19 points), coached by MLS legend Landon Donovan, moved into second place in Group B as the squad makes a run for the playoffs with three regular season matches remaining.
San Diego has won back-to-back matches for the first time after beating LA Galaxy II Wednesday night. The win streak has come thanks in part to the addition of Guido and a handful of other players in the past few weeks.
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Guido’s first score came after taking a pass by Elijah Martin from the left. He dribbled down the middle and fired his shot from just outside the half circle on top of the box.
”I thought the performance was really good in a lot of ways,” Donovan said. “It was not as beautiful to watch as the Galaxy game the other night, but this was a big boy soccer game and our guys came to play. They competed and they battled. It wasn’t perfect but sometimes you just have to grind out a win. That was two moments of brilliance by Guido and a really, really good team performance I am very happy for the guys.”
Guido’s second score came when he rain-bowed a volley over defenders into the net from the top of the box off a corner kick. He brought down a ball punched out by Orange County goalkeeper Frederik Due and struck it with a touch into the net.
A trio in newcomers in Miguel Berry, Rubio Rubin and Guido have shaped a new offense for Loyal.
But it appeared the visiting side was going to have a chance at a penalty kick when Loyal goalkeeper Jon Kempin slid into a ball as an Orange County player went after the ball. Referee Ricardo Fierro showed Kempin a yellow card but then waived it off.
Kempin appeared to have slid into the ball before making contact with the Orange County player on the play right before the mandatory first-half hydration break.
Donovan’s team will now head to the desert to face Phoenix Rising on Saturday. The next home game, also against Phoenix, is Sept. 30 at Torero Stadium.
”I’m proud of our guys for going through a bad stretch — we lost three in a row and we got two hard-fought draws on the road and now put together back to back wins,” Donovan said.
“There are three games left, two of them against a very good Phoenix team and a very good Galaxy team. It’s not going to be easy but we put ourselves in a position now where we control our destiny if we were to win out. We are right in the thick of it now.”
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