Unbeaten streak broken up by 77th minute goal in tightly played match
TULSA, Okla. (March 23, 2022) – Elijah Martin timed it precisely. He moved into the six-yard box to clear out a ball one step from his goal line Wednesday night. He kept away what was the most dangerous play at the time. Martin wasn’t as lucky later in the match.
The San Diego Loyal SC speedy and nifty defender just missed on clearing a header on a volley that ultimately ended up in the back of the net and resulted in 1-0 loss against host FC Tulsa at ONEOK Field on a 40-degree night.
Martin missed getting his head on a cross by FC Tulsa’s Gabriel Torres that eventually found Dario Suarez. The home side’s midfielder slid and connected to send a low-rolling shot just inside the left post in the 77th minute. SD Loyal goalkeeper Koke Vegas dove at the ball, but it was just out of reach. The score helped FC Tulsa hand SD Loyal its first loss of the young 2022 USL Championship season.
Martin and the rest of the SD Loyal defense played a disciplined and tight-knit game for most of the match as the visitors controlled possession and FC Tulsa bet on playing the counter-attack. SD Loyal (2-1-0, 6 points) kept FC Tulsa (2-1-0, 6 points) at bay for nearly three quarters of the match. The visitors had a handful of clear chances including a header by Evan Conway and a freekick by Charlie Adams. The home side also had its opportunities. It nearly scored when Suarez dribbled past defenders into the six-yard box and sent a shot to what appeared to be an open right side of the net. Vegas, the SD Loyal goalkeeper, dove to his left but couldn’t reach it. Martin worked his way in to stop the ball from going in with a timely run to the goal line.
SD Loyal nearly did the same when it almost got the ball past the FC Tulsa goal line in stoppage time as coach Landon Donovan’s team rallied to try and find the equalizer. Second half substitute Thomas Amang nearly tied the midweek match as he sent a shot, but it floated over the crossbar. It was that kind of night for SD Loyal in its first ever meeting against FC Tulsa.
Donovan’s team, which featured a set of different starters from last week in Andrew Carleton, Camden Riley and Conway, will now continue its first road trip of the season with its second match of the week.
SD Loyal next travels to Arizona to face Phoenix Rising FC for a Western Conference showdown Saturday, March 26 at Wild Horse Pass (7:30 p.m.). It will then return home to host El Paso Locomotive Sunday April 3 (2 p.m.) at Torero Stadium.
2022 Season Ticket Memberships, Half Season Ticket Memberships, Quarter Season Ticket Memberships, Flex Plans, Group Tickets and Single Match Tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling (858) 465-GOAL and by visiting sdloyal.com/tickets.
1-0 (77’) Dario Suarez (Gabriel Torres) TUL
FC Tulsa – 1. Sean Lewis, 22. Bradley Bourgeois, 16. Gabriel Torres, 15. Adrian Diz Pe, 5. Johnny Fenwick, 8. Petar Cuic, 23. Marlon Ramirez, 30. Lebo Moloto, 10. Rodrigo da Costa, 92. Dario Suarez, 9. Brian Brown. Coach: Michael Nsien
SD Loyal – 25. Koke Vegas, 3. Elijah Martin, 32. Kyle Adams, 13. Camden Riley, 4. Jack Metcalf, 14. Evan Conway, 6. Charlie Adams, 30. Andrew Carleton, 11. Tumi Moshobane, 10. Alejandro Guido, 9. Kyle Vassell, Coach: Landon Donovan.