Team shifts focus to U.S. Open Cup at LA Galaxy Tuesday
SAN DIEGO (April 16, 2022) – Kyle Vassell clapped his hands over his head as he walked away from the opponent’s goal Saturday night. He applauded another close call in a busy night for his club that fell short. Instead, it was San Diego Loyal SC suffering its first defeat at home this season with a 5-2 loss against Louisville City FC. Coach Landon Donovan’s team now shifts focus to the U.S. Open Cup in a historic match at LA Galaxy Tuesday.
But before facing the Galaxy, Vassell and teammates had to play a Week 6 USL Championship match against Louisville City, the top team in the Eastern Conference that came in allowing one goal this season.
SD Loyal added two more to that stat. Andrew Carleton (14th minute) and Vassell (52nd minute) scored for SD Loyal but it was not enough against a Louisville City team that has been in the last seven Eastern Conference finals.
It was Louisville City who took the 1-0 lead and never trailed at Torero Stadium Saturday. Wilson Harris scored off a mistake by the SD Loyal back line four minutes into the interconference match. Harris only had SD Loyal goalkeeper Austin Guerrero to beat, made a move and then sent in a shot to the empty net. SD Loyal captain Grant Stoneman tried to feed the ball back to his teammate Nikko Boxall but he wasn’t able to connect. Harris took the ball instead and scored.
SD Loyal (5-2-1, 16 points) answered that score with a penalty kick converted by Carleton to tie the match 1-1. The midfielder converted his PK into the upper left corner beating Kyle Morton for his first goal with the club. Louisville City’s Sean Totsch was whistled for bringing down Thomas Amang. The striker from Cameroon took a through pass by Carleton and dribbled up field with it before he was fouled.
Louisville City (5-0-2, 17 points) responded with a near goal a few seconds later when Brian Ownby sped into the penalty area and fired a low shot. But Guerrero was in place to block the attempt.
Guerrero wasn’t so lucky when the visitor’s scored again.
Louisville City took a 2-1 lead five minutes into stoppage time in the first half when Wes Charpie sent in a left-footed shot from near the penalty spot. He took a loose bouncing ball that came off the hands of Guerrero on a corner kick. Guerrero crashed into a teammate as he got his hands on the corner kick but couldn’t hold on.
Louisville City went on to hold onto the lead for good. It added another score after Kyle Adams was whistled for a PK as the referee called a handball in the penalty area on a free kick. The official ruled Adams extended his arm and made contact as the defender stood at the end of a defensive wall line. Totsch, who was later sent off for a second yellow, went on to convert the penalty kick to give Louisville City a 3-1 lead.
Vassell eventually got his goal when he scored to cut the lead to 3-2. The striker beat a defender to a long ball sent in by Morgan Hackworth outside the left side of the penalty box. The physical forward who came on at the start of the second half used his body to get to the ball and volleyed a shot across the area into the side net. It was Vassell’s fifth goal of the season.
Louisville City scored again in the 83rd minute, making it 4-2. Niall McCabe converted a penalty kick. SD Loyal’s Stoneman was shown a red card for fouling Ownby on another breakaway in the penalty area.
Ownby went on to close out the scoring after he beat Guerrero to a ball right at the start of the penalty box. Guerrero couldn’t get control of the ball and Ownby dribbled past him and sent his shot.
SD Loyal now moves on to the U.S. Open Cup match against LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park. Donovan’s team will resume league play Saturday April 30 at Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Rowdies.