“We just keep getting better,” San Diego Loyal Midfielder Jack Blake said after helping his side keep its home win streak alive, beating Pacific Division’s first-place Phoenix Rising in front of the first full crowd since March 7, 2020.
The Englishman sent in a pair of goals in a 2-1 Loyal victory over the Arizona team on what was deemed “619 night” to celebrate the club’s second birthday on the date that coincides with San Diego’s telephone area code.
The win at Torero Stadium leaves the Loyal unbeaten in its past five games.
The night coincided with SD Loyal adding more points in the standings with Blake’s goals that came off blasts from outside the 18-yard box. Blake scored in the 36th minute to open up the scoring and delighted 5,800 fans at the stadium at USD.
Blake’s first goal came from near the top of the box and he did it in similar fashion on the opposite side of the pitch in the 57th for a 2-0 lead. It was his third goal against Phoenix this season. He also found the net in a 2-2 draw at Phoenix June 5, also from outside the box.
“This so special,” Blake said. “The lads and I have been looking forward to this game for so long to be at full capacity and to hear the fans behind us and to get that goal in front of them was so special.”
It took a pass by Jack Maher to Blake and another one by Charlie Adams to Blake to help create the scoring plays in the Week 10 match.
Said Loyal manager Landon Donovan: “Soccer is a funny game. We were much better in Phoenix and probably deserved to win that game.”
“Given everything that happened, a point probably would have been fair tonight,” he said. “We thank the soccer gods. They do look down on you.”
Donovan continued: “We’re proud of our guys. It was a different kind of performance. It’s not like us to not have the ball and get pinned on our end.”
Phoenix Rising moved up its lines and eventually found the net when Arturo Gonzalez scored in the 66th minute as Donovan was set on defending its side to try to hold on to its second consecutive win.
Blake said: “It’s just about character and digging in. We can learn from our mistakes.
“We gave up two late [goals] in Phoenix, but we just keep getting better. That’s all we can do.
The schedule killed us for a little bit with the first seven of eight away, but it’s great to pick up points at home and make this place a fortress like we have so far.”
The Loyal next faces Las Vegas Lights FC June 25 at Cashman Field in Nevada.
The Loyal is 3-4-2, with 11 points and Phoenix Rising is 5-2-1, with 16 points.