San Diego Loyal, on the cusp of their first defeat at home this season, was down a goal and a man late in the match.
Then everything changed, with a free kick, a quick pass and a deflection.
That’s how a seeming loss became a 2-1 come-from-behind win Wednesday against visiting Orange County SC at Torero Stadium.
Callum Montgomery scored his first goal with the Loyal while Tumi Moshobane scored his second.
With the win, the team added three points in the Pacific Division standings to move into a tie for second with Orange County. The tiebreaker favors San Diego.
The team (6-4-3, 21 points) remains unbeaten at home in six matches and also extended its unbeaten streak to nine, including three draws.
Both scoring plays against Orange County were started by Jack Blake.
The Englishman set up the assist as he sent a free kick into the penalty area. He found Montgomery charging the net and sent in the pass with a header in the 74th minute.
Blake helped with the game-winning goal two minutes later. He sprinted into the penalty area and flicked a pass that deflected off a defender. Moshobane then headed it past goalkeeper Abraham Romero.
Moshobane also scored in the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, a 1-1 draw in Irvine.
“They were very similar goals,” Moshobane said. “Both were headers. I’ll take them both.”
The team was short a man after losing defender Grant Stoneman in the 60th minute as he received a second yellow card.
Orange County took advantage, and went ahead 1-0 with a goal by Eero Markkanen off a pass by Miko Kuningas.
“There are times during the year when you aren’t perfect. We weren’t perfect tonight,” coach Landon Donovan said. “We were pretty good but you see what your team is made of.”
Montgomery, whose header began the comeback, knew his goal energized the team.
“You go down a man and at that point you want to keep playing there’s a lot of game left, you don’t want to bunker in. Your emotions are low at that point,” Montgomery said. “We get that goal and put some spark into the team and you realize that you can get out of this game.”
SD Loyal gets the weekend off, resuming play July 24 at home against Pacific Division leader Phoenix Rising.