The San Diego Loyal became the third local team to be eliminated from playoff competition Sunday as the Oakland Roots won 3-0 in a USL Championship league quarterfinal at Torero Stadium.
Oakland’s Charlie Dennis scored the first goal in the 36th minute, Lindo Mfeka struck in the 52nd minute, and Matias Fissore scored in the 91st minute.
Trailing by two goals in the second half, Loyal player Thomas Amang was tossed from the match for arguing, and Alejandro Guido was sent to the bench for a foul.
In the 87th minute, the Landon Donovan-coached Loyal were down to eight players when Grant Stoneman received a red card after a foul was called.
A couple of fans joined in the downfall as a few water bottles were thrown on to the field. The crowd was warned about launching objects onto the pitch.
Penalty cards were given to four Loyal players and five Oakland players.
“I’m disappointed in the red cards,” Donovan said. “You can’t be in a position to get sent off. I think we still had a chance to get back into the game.”
He was pleased with the fight that the remaining players showed on the pitch.
Donovan thanked the fans for their support throughout the season.
“It’s been a really special season,” the soccer legend said. “I think we have brought a lot of joy to people, and they brought us a lot of joy. I’m really proud of what we are building in this city.”
While he and the team were, of course, disappointed about the way the season ended, Donovan said, “We’ve just grown so much, and I’m really proud of our guys. A couple of bad decisions tonight. They know that.
“I don’t want to judge everything just on tonight,” he added. “I want to make sure the guys realize that they did a lot of great things this year.”
The club had a franchise-best 18-10-6 record and 60 points this season.
That was good enough for a second-place finish in the Western Conference standings behind San Antonio, which ended the season with a league-leading 24-5-5 record and 77 points.
Oakland (11-10-13, 46 points) finished in seventh place. For the second year, the Roots won their first playoff games.
Sunday night’s attendance was announced as the third consecutive sellout crowd.
“I think the future is really bright for soccer in this city and for our team in particular,” Donovan concluded.
The Roots will next face San Antonio in semifinal play Friday, Oct. 28.