San Diego Loyal SC concluded their season-opening four-game road trip Saturday with their fourth loss, allowing goals late in each half in a 2-1 loss to Louisville City FC.
The team (0-4-0) will try to find its footing in San Diego as the Loyal plays its home opener May 29 against Las Vegas Lights FC at Torero Stadium.
Louisville was awarded a penalty kick one minute into stoppage time in the first half when referee Ismir Pekmic ruled that midfielder Jack Blake had fouled Napo Matsoso in the penalty area.
Goalkeeper Trey Muse made a diving stop of Cameron Lancaster’s penalty kick but the ball went right back to Lancaster who put a left-footed shot into the net for his first goal of the season.
Louisville (2-0-1) increased its lead to 2-0 in the 88th minute when Kyle Greig headed a volley in the penalty area, made a half turn and was able to push the ball past Muse with his leg.
SD Loyal coach Landon Donovan was ejected shortly after the goal for failing to return to the coaches box.
SD Loyal avoided its second shutout in three games when Blake put a right-footed shot from outside the penalty area into the top right corner of the net for his first goal of the season.
SD Loyal, though, trailed 20-11 in shots and 10-5 in shots on goal.
Muse, who was born in Louisville and played for the city’s Derby City Rovers youth teams, made eight saves.
“I thought it was just a great game,” Donovan said. “Obviously, we’re disappointed to lose and I was proud of the effort, the performance. It wasn’t perfect but I think it was against a very good team, probably the first- or second-best team in the league the last three or four years.”
The game was played in front of a 50% capacity crowd of 7,652 at Lynn Family Stadium.
The victory was the first for Danny Cruz as Louisville’s interim coach, a role he assumed April 27 after the team and coach John Hackworth mutually agreed to terminate Hackworth’s contract with the club.
Hackworth is the father of SD Loyal midfielder Morgan Hackworth, who entered Saturday’s game in the 61st minute.
Coronado native CJ Fodrey, just 17, also made his professional and SD Loyal debut Saturday.