Two Collier assists and another Vegas clean sheet leads to second straight win
SAN DIEGO (March 19, 2023) – San Diego Loyal SC closed its season opening homestand with a 3-0 win against visiting Phoenix Rising FC Sunday at Torero Stadium.
Evan Conway, Ronaldo Damus and Blake Bodily scored while Koke Vegas recorded his second-consecutive shutout to give Head Coach Nate Miller’s club another win in front of the home crowd. The 5,114 person crowd at Torero Stadium got to see SD Loyal earn three more points on a cloudy San Diego afternoon to start the 2023 USL Championship season.
Conway opened the scoring in the 44th minute while Damus scored in the 74th minute before Bodily sealed the win in the 90th minute. SD Loyal (2W-0L-0D, 6 points) now heads into its first road match of 2023 when it faces Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday, March 25 (7 p.m.).
Against Phoenix Rising (0W-1L-1D, 1 point), a Western Conference rival, it was Conway giving the homeside a 1-0 lead when he took a Charlie Adams pin-point low rolling pass into the penalty box, made a turn and fired a low shot past a diving effort from Phoenix goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo. It was Conway’s first goal of the season and 10th overall with the club.
Damus came off the bench and it didn’t take long for the speedy Haitian striker to settle in. He gave Miller’s team a 2-0 lead 12 minutes after coming on for Tumi Moshobane in the 63rd minute with a right-footed blast from just outside the penalty box. Elliot Collier was credited with the assist that Damus bent off the right post into the Phoenix net.
Bodily sealed the scoring by sending in a left-footed shot into the right wall of the Phoenix net. The midfielder sped into the penalty box and took a Collier quick pass at the left corner of the six-yard box and fired it across to beat the goalkeeper. It was Bodily’s first goal with SD Loyal after signing this offseason.
SD Loyal, who had Alejandro Guido and Grant Stoneman back from suspension, held a Phoenix team that had several scoring chances early in the second half.
Phoenix nearly tied the match in the 68th minute when newly acquired Danny Trejo was wide open on top of the box and fired a right-footed shot. But Vegas was on his line to make the save. The SD Loyal goalkeeper also blocked a powerful shot by Manuel Arteaga two minutes later for another crucial save.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
SD – Evan Conway (Charlie Adams), 44th minute: Conway took a Charlie Adams pass, turned and shot it low into the net. SD 1, PHX 0
SD – Ronaldo Damus (Elliot Collier), 74th minute: Damus sent a right-footed blast from just outside the penalty box off the right post. SD 2, PHX 0
SD – Blake Bodily (Elliot Collier), 90th minute: The midfielder sent in a left-footed shot into the right wall of the Phoenix net. SD 3, PHX 0
- Evan Conway scored his first goal of the season and 10th with SD Loyal.
- Ronaldo Damus scored his first goal of the season and first-ever with SD Loyal.
- Blake Bodily scored his first goal of the season and first-ever with SD Loyal.
- Charlie Adams recorded his first assist of the season and club leading 13th assist of his SD Loyal career.
- Elliot Collier recorded his first and second assists of the season, most in the USL Championship. Collier becomes the sixth player in SD Loyal history to record multiple assists in a single match.