San Diego Loyal SC suffered its first defeat at home this season with Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Louisville City FC, long a power in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Landon Donovan’s busy team must immediately shift focus to the U.S. Open Cup in a match against the LA Galaxy Tuesday.
“We gotta just flush it quickly and prepare for obviously a very good opponent,” Donovan said of the players’ disappointment over the loss, as they turn to prepare for their ninth game in the last month.
Louisville City had only allowed one goal through six weeks of play and the Loyal managed two, from Andrew Carleton in the 14th minute and Kyle Vassell in the 52nd minute.
Yet Louisville City never trailed at Torero Stadium. Wilson Harris scored off a mistake by the Loyal back line four minutes into the match. Harris, with only goalkeeper Austin Guerrero to beat, made a move and then sent in a shot to the empty net.
SD Loyal (5-2-1, 16 points) answered that score with a penalty kick converted by Carleton to tie the match 1-1, while logging his first goal with the club.
Louisville City (5-0-2, 17 points) took a 2-1 lead five minutes into stoppage time in the first half when Wes Charpie sent in a left-footed shot from near the penalty spot after taking a loose bouncing ball that came off the hands of Guerrero on a corner kick. They held on to their advantage for the remainder of the match.
Vassell’s score came when he used his body to get to the ball and volleyed a shot into the side net for his fifth goal of the season.
SD Loyal now moves on to the U.S. Open Cup match against the Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. Donovan’s team resumes league play April 30 when they travel to meet the Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Rowdies.