Festive atmosphere, regional rivals unite soccer region with friendly
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 19, 2022) –Alejandro Guido stood and watched closely as so did most of his teammates Saturday night. He watched as he blasted a shot into the net after getting a second chance.
Volley, block, bounce, clearance, shot, goal.
That’s the order in which the ball made its way into the net, sent by the SD Loyal midfielder. It was a wild play on an enthusiastic night that paired men’s professional soccer teams from the region. Guido along with Tumi Moshobane and Grant Stoneman scored for SD Loyal in a 3-2 win against Club Tijuana Xolos in a preseason friendly at Torero Stadium at USD. It was the second time the USL Championship and LIGA MX squads met in the “Clasico Sin Fronteras.”
Xolos beat SD Loyal 1-0 the first time they met last July. This time, it was SD Loyal beating its neighbors to the South. More than 4,500 fans gathered at Torero Stadium on a beautiful evening as both teams moved the ball up and down the pitch embraced by a festive crowd.
But it didn’t matter who was on the pitch. Both clubs played to an upbeat rhythm. SD Loyal opened up the scoring early. Tumi Moshobane gave the home team a 1-0 lead three minutes into the match. He sent in a slow and low rolling ball off the left post just past the goal line.
Then it was Guido’s goal. He extended the SD Loyal lead to 2-0 lead in the 19th minute when he blasted a shot past Club Tijuana goalkeeper Benny Diaz. The SD Loyal midfielder got a second chance after trying to volley into the net. Diaz got a hand on Guido’s first attempt to slow the ball down so that a Xolos defender could clear it by the goal line. But the clearance wasn’t good enough. It went right back to Guido, who didn’t waste his chance.
Club Tijuana had a chance of its own when Daniel Lopez fired a shot from outside the penalty box but SD Loyal goalkeeper Koke Vegas dove to make the save. The visitors continued to insist on the attack and eventually got a score.
The Xolos cut the lead 2-1 when Lopez converted a penalty kick in the 29th minute. He fired his shot low and to the left where Vegas dove and got a piece of the ball but not enough to keep it out. SD Loyal was whistled for a penalty kick when Christian Lopez was taken down in the penalty box a minute earlier.
It didn’t take long for SD Loyal to answer the Club Tijuana goal. Defender Grant Stoneman got a head on a ball sent to the six-yard box on a cross by Charlie Adams and buried it past Diaz for the 3-1 lead in the 35th minute.
Both teams played starters into the second half with constant moving of the ball to both ends of the pitch. SD Loyal nearly scored on a couple of quick counter attacks that included Kyle Vassell and Adams shots. Diaz, the Xolos goalkeeper continued to make standout saves to keep SD Loyal from scoring again.
Vegas had a handful of saves of his own before he was subbed by Austin Guerrero 77 minutes into the match, when other substitutions took place for SD Loyal. Club Tijuana’s Ruben Hernandez closed out the scoring with an 85th minute goal.
SD Loyal will return to Torero Stadium on Saturday, March 12 at 7 p.m. for its 2022 USL Championship regular season home opener against conference rival LA Galaxy II. Tickets start at just $15. To purchase, visit sdloyal.com/singletickets.
2022 Season Ticket Memberships, Half Season Ticket Memberships, Group Tickets and Single Match Tickets including the home opener on Saturday, March 12 are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling (858) 465-GOAL and by visiting sdloyal.com/tickets.