Last second goal from Ronaldo Damus gives SD Loyal important road point
SAN ANTONIO (June 3, 2023) – San Diego Loyal SC concluded its three-match road series in dramatic fashion Saturday night as the club fought back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 3-3 draw against defending league champions San Antonio FC.
Evan Conway and second half substitute Ronaldo Damus helped to complete the comeback from Toyota Field, combining for three goals in a span of 20 minutes including Damus’ late equalizer five minutes into stoppage time. Head Coach Nate Miller’s side dug deep in the second half after going down three goals in the first 20 minutes of play. SD Loyal secured a much needed road point in the Western Conference standings as the club now looks forward to hosting first place Sacramento Republic FC on Friday, June 9.
Saturday marked the first meeting between the two sides since SD Loyal fell 1-0 in the Alamo City last season. This time around, the hosts started out strong, getting on the scoreboard just three minutes into the match. Attacking up the right flank, San Antonio’s Mitchell Taintor crossed a dangerous ball into the box that bounced off the head of Tani Oluwaseyi and into the near post. The homeside doubled its lead two minutes later off a free kick when San Antonio’s Jorge Hernandez snuck the ball past SD Loyal goalkeeper Duran Ferree for a 2-0 lead.
San Antonio increased its lead a third time in the 16th minute off a set piece opportunity. As midfielder Rida Zouhir swung the ball into a threatening area, Ferree and teammate Elliot Collier collided, leaving an open net. After a first shot attempt from Oluwaseyi ricocheted off the post, San Antonio defender Mitchell Taintor buried the second effort from close range.
Four minutes later, SD Loyal was handed a lifeline when Oluwaseyi received his second yellow card, forcing San Antonio to play down a man for the remainder of the match.
Despite a handful of chances for the rest of the first half and deep into the second, SD Loyal wouldn’t break through the stingy San Antonio (6W-2L-5D, 23 points) defense until the 75th minute. One of four halftime substitutes, Damus got SD loyal on the scoreboard after a fluid build of possession. Taking in a pass from Grant Stoneman, Damus volleyed a rocket through a sea of defenders and into the bottom left corner of the net to cut the deficit down 3-1. Four minutes later off a corner kick play, SD Loyal Captain Alejandro Guido whipped in a cross to the back post that saw Evan Conway rise up to head the ball past San Antonio goalkeeper Jordan Farr to bring the visitors within one.
With just 10 minutes left to play, SD Loyal continued to knock on San Antonio’s door, forcing Farr to make a flurry of saves.
Entering the fifth and final minute of stoppage time, SD Loyal made one last attempt to disappoint the homeside. After earning a 10th corner kick, Tumi Moshobane quickly passed the ball into Morgan Hackworth who fired an eye-level service into the box that was met by a charging Damus. The SD Loyal striker headed the ball towards the back post, speeding past Farr who had no chance to react.
With the draw, SD Loyal (6W-4L-3D, 21 points) remains in fourth place in the Western Conference as it heads into a two-match home stand. The club will host Sacramento on June 9 (7 p.m.) before a highly anticipated rematch against San Antonio on June 14 (7 p.m.). Tickets to both upcoming home matches from Torero Stadium are available now at sdloyal.com/tickets.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
SA – Tanitoluwa Oluwaseyi (Mitchell Taintor), 3rd minute: Taintor sent in a cross from right to left, meeting the head of Oluwaseyi who squared the ball to the right of a diving Duran Ferree. SA 1, SD 0
SA – Rida Zouhir, 5th minute: Zouhir buried a free kick from 26-yards out. SA 2, SD 0
SA – Mitchell Taintor, 16th minute: Following a free kick into the box, an empty net ensued after a collision between Duran Ferree and Elliot Collier, giving Taintor an easy tap in. SA 3, SD 0
SD – Ronaldo Damus (Grant Stoneman), 75th minute: Taking a pass from Stoneman, Damus volleys a rocket through traffic and into the left side of the net. SA 3, SD 1
SD – Evan Conway (Alejandro Guido), 79th minute: After quickly playing the ball in from a left side corner kick, Guido sent a curling ball to the back post that found Conway who redirected the service into the net. SA 3, SD 2
SD – Ronaldo Damus (Morgan Hackworth), 90+5 minute: Coming off another quickly played in corner kick, Damus redirected an entry pass from Hackworth into the left side of the net. SA 3, SD 3
- Ronaldo Damus scored his third and fourth goals of the season.
- Evan Conway scored his team-leading fifth USL Championship goal and sixth overall this season.
- Grant Stoneman, Morgan Hackworth and Alejandro Guido each recorded their first assist of the season.
- SD Loyal has now scored in 11 of its 13 matches, most in the USL Championship this season.
Palomar Health Man of the Match: Ronaldo Damus