Loyal players celebrate one of two goals in their May 30 home-opening win. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego Loyal hosts an international friendly match at 5 p.m. Saturday at Torero Stadium – but the opponent isn’t from so very far away.

Club Tijuana Xolos, of Mexico’s top league, Liga MX, will play in what the Loyal bills as the first-ever clash between clubs representing the San Diego-Tijuana region. 

In playing the match, the Loyal take a break from their 2021 USL Championship season as Xolos prepare for their upcoming campaign. The match will be televised on Azteca America Canal 33. 

“We have been waiting for this day for a very long time for the chance to bring Baja and Alta California together on the soccer field,” coach Landon Donovan said. “We’re excited to play Xolos and celebrate soccer in this region. Should be a great match and we are very much looking forward to it.”  

Club Tijuana began as a second division team and earned promotion to the top league in 2011. The team won the Mexican league title the following year.

Saturday’s game is the Loyal’s second international friendly match at Torero Stadium; the last, a 1-0 win against Costa Del Este FC of Panama, came in February 2020.

Tickets start at $25.

Meanwhile, the Loyal announced the trade of Thomas Vancaeyezeele to fellow USL Championship side Birmingham Legion FC Thursday.

The team will receive cash considerations in the deal.

Vancaeyezeele immediately signed a multi-year contract with Birmingham pending league and federation approval. He spent the first part of the 2021 season with the Loyal, starting in seven of the club’s first eight games before joining the French Guiana National Team for 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualification matches.

His team made it to the final round before losing to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. 

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