Club resumes play after canceled match last week
SD Loyal was ready. It had prepared and was looking forward to facing what was perhaps its greatest challenge this season. Then, the scheduled match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, the top team in the Western Conference, was canceled because the team had covered persons who tested positive for COVID-19. It was a scenario that left coach Landon Donvoan’s team without a match for two weeks until Saturday when it visits RGVFC. The last time SD loyal was on the pitch it played to a 1-1 draw after it allowed a late goal at New Mexico United on May 7. That was SD Loyal’s first match of the month after Donovan’s team finished a busy April with a 3-1-1 record, not including two matches in its first-ever appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Despite the cancellation of last week’s match, SD Loyal has continued its preparation process for what will be a long stretch of away matches and lengthy travel.
Saturday’s match at RGVFC is the first of three consecutive road matches for SD Loyal as it will then visit LA Galaxy II on May 28 and head back to the east coast to face New York Red Bulls II on June 2. SD Loyal will make its long awaited return to Torero Stadium on June 11 when it hosts Hartford Athletic.
The last time SD Loyal faced off against RGVFC, it was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. The match ended in drama as Vicente Sanchez scored a late winner for RGVFC as the hosts earned a 1-0 victory at H-E-B Park in May of last year. With the goal, Sanchez also became the oldest goalscorer in the USL Championship’s history, at 41 years, 4 months and 29 days, surpassing the record previously held by Didier Drogba.
RGVFC has had a slow start to the season as it comes into Saturday’s match with a 4W-6L-0D record and 12 points, good enough for 11th place in the Western Conference standings. It is coming off a 2-1 win against Monterey Bay FC. Before that, it had lost two in a row to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Orange County SC. Coach Wilber Cabrera’s team is coming off a playoff berth last season where it lost to San Antonio FC in the Conference Semifinals. It lost several key players from that 2021 team, including Elvis Amoh and Rodrigo Lopez. But Cabrera brought in some help for this season with former United States international Jose Francisco Torres. RGVFC returns two key veterans, with goalkeeper Tyler Deric having re-signed over the offseason to join returning defender Erik Pimental. Some familiar faces also return, with defender Robert Coronado and midfielder Isidro Martinez set for their second stints at the club.