USL Championship soccer
Midfielder Joe Corona and SD Loyal fought back in the second half, but a goal eluded them. Photo credit:

San Diego Loyal SC gave up an early goal Saturday that held up, losing 1-0 to Louisville City FC to fall in the USL Championship standings. 

Wilson Harris found the net for Louisville (13W-9L-7D, 46 points) in the fifth minute. The striker headed in a shot past Koke Vegas after the Loyal goalkeeper had blocked a point-blank attempt.

Vegas punched away the first header by Jorge Gonzalez at his line, but the save went straight to Harris on the rebound.

Following the matchup between the Western and Eastern conference fourth-place teams, SD Loyal (12W-9L-7D, 43 points) dropped to fifth place behind Phoenix (12-8-9, 45 points), winners of three in a row, followed by a draw.

San Diego has lost two straight.

The Loyal continued to press as the team tried to unlock the homeside’s defense. But it was Louisville that continued to fire shots on target, including one that required a goal-line clearance from Joe Corona in the 27th minute.

Louisville continued to create scoring chances early in the second half, including two that Collin Martin and Adrien Perez halted. 

Martin created some danger of his own in the 52nd minute when he sent a powerful, low shot outside the penalty box that forced Louisville goalkeeper Oliver Semmle to come up with a crucial save.

The goalkeeper also blocked shots from Perez in the 57th minute and Evan Conway in the 77th minute.

Head coach Nate Miller said his team was unsteady to open the game, and later found their footing.

“Then the second half was completely different,” he said. “We created some big, big chances that we regret missing.”

In the end, Louisville, having contained the Loyal attack, claimed a third-straight win in the all-time series with San Diego. 

SD Loyal ends its three-game road trip at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Monterey Bay F.C. before returning to Torero Stadium to host Las Vegas Lights FC on Sept. 24.