Vassell, Moshobane and Amang score in 3-2 win against El Paso Locomotive FC
SAN DIEGO (April 3, 2022) – San Diego Loyal SC fought to the end to hold onto a 3-2 win against visiting El Paso Locomotive FC in front of an excited crowd at Torero Stadium. With the win, Landon Donovan’s team moves to 4-1 with 12 points, its best start in franchise history through five games.
The win was in part thanks to an offense that created a fluid brand of soccer in the first half. It did it with a handful of players meshing to keep the Western Conference rival trying to find ways to stop the attack. Kyle Vassell, Tumi Moshobane and Thomas Amang each found the net for the homeside. Earning another three points, SD Loyal remains undefeated at home this season with a 3-0 record.
Vassell, Amang, Moshobane, Nick Moon, Evan Conway, Alejandro Guido and Collin Martin were all big time playmakers on the offensive side. Vassell and Moshobane scored in the first half when SD Loyal mostly controlled possession and pinned El Paso Locomotive into its own side of the field. Guido and Moon, the man of the match, helped create the rhythm of the first half attack. It ultimately resulted in Vassell and Moshobane’s goals.
Vassell opened up the scoring in the 21st minute when he buried a shot a few feet from the El Paso goal line. The English striker took a quick cross that Moon flicked into the six-yard box after he sprinted into the penalty box with a self pass. He then found a wide open Vasell ready to tap in the ball with the goalkeeper beat, giving SD Loyal the 1-0 lead.
Donovan’s squad continued to pressure despite taking the lead. Amang had a chance to score on a run but El Paso goalkeeper Even Newton slid to block the potential goal.
El Paso Locomotive (0-4-0) answered that SD Loyal attack with a score by Harry Brockbank in the 26th minute. Brockband was able to sneak behind the SD Loyal back line to put back a shot by a sliding Lacho Solignac. Brockbank charged in and sent in the deflection by Vegas, the SD Loyal goalkeeper, into the roof of the net. The visitor’s goal came at a time in which SD Loyal dominated possession and the match was mostly played on the El Paso side of the pitch with Donovan’s team still pressing on the attack.
The strategy paid off again when SD Loyal took a 2-1 lead when Moshobane fired a left-footed blast past Newton. The midfielder was open inside the penalty box and didn’t waste his chance after taking a pass from Conway. It was the South African’s first goal of the season. The scoring play came off a long cross from Amang to Conway, who set the pin-point pass to Moshobane prior to the score.
But SD Loyal would not have the same fluidity Donovan would have liked to have in the second half despite taking a 3-1 lead with a goal by Amang in the 64th minute. He extended the SD Loyal lead 3-1 when he sent in a low-rolling shot from left to right off the right post. Amang beat Yuma Monsalves near the left sideline and dribbled upfield to open space where he looked up and sent in his right-footed shot for his second score of the season.
“You guys heard me say a lot last year when I was happy with a performance whether we win tie or lose,” Donovan said. “It would be hypocritical to be excited about tonight after the second half. I was disappointed with the last 30 minutes of the game. You can make every excuse but good teams don’t do that.”
SD Loyal was able to come away with the win despite El Paso being able to pressure, forcing the home side to defend. It created a handful of chances. SD Loyal had to figure out a way to escape an El Paso surge late in the game. The visitors would eventually score again. Aaron Gomez found the net in the 87th minute to seal the scoring for the day, sending the ball in after a defensive miscue in the six-yard box in a shaky second half.
“We never really had control of the game,” Donovan said about the second half. “El Paso is a really good team. It’s hard to believe they haven’t gotten a win. My prediction is that they will be in the playoffs. In the first half, we had more control of the game. They gave us a lot of opportunities to attack. In the second half, we just fell off. It led to a lot of defending. We are not built for that. But there was a lot of good stuff. We should have scored six or seven goals in the first half to be honest.”
SD Loyal will now have a chance to score more goals as it heads into a week of training to prepare for its first U.S. Open Cup match, an in-town affair against Albion SC at Canyon Crest Stadium on Wednesday, April 6. Then it will be back to USL Championship action to host Charleston Battery for the first time Saturday, April 9 (7 p.m.) at Torero Stadium.