Phoenix, Ariz. (Aug. 15, 2020) –San Diego Loyal SC (SD Loyal) finally got to play another road match Saturday night. It had been more than a month since coach Landon Donovan’s team kicked off as a visitor thanks to match postponements. This time, it played in the desert to a 2-0 loss against Phoenix Rising FC at Casino Arizona Field.
The home side scored in each half of the first meeting between these two clubs in the 100-degree dry night. Junior Flemmings scored in the 26th minute while Darnell King sent in the final score in the 59th. Both scoring plays came off blasts that were sent out of the reach of SD Loyal goalkeeper Jake Fenlason.
Flemmings sent a right-footed volley past Fenlason from about 20 yards out. Flemmings was able to find some room after taking a pass from the left side, taking four touches before firing his shot.
SD Loyal had created a handful of chances moments before the Phoenix Rising FC goal as it had a series of corner kicks, including a shot via a header that was saved by Phoenix FC goalkeeper Zachary Cubin.
SD Loyal (3-3-2, 11 points) thought it had tied the game in the 37th minute when Tumi Moshobane headed in a Jack Metcalf corner kick. But the goal was disallowed. Carlos Alvarez was whistled for obstructing the goalkeeper on the play.
This was Donovan’s team second road match since the league restart. It faced Real Monarchs SLC July 11 and also made two bus trips to Carson, Calif. July 29 and Las Vegas Aug. 8. Both were postponed because members from each opposing teams tested positive for COVID-19.
Saturday against Phoenix Rising FC (5-1-1, 16 points), it was the first time these two teams met. The Arizona team came in as the first place team and SD Loyal in second place after losing at home against Orange County SC Wednesday night in the first of two matches this week.
SD Loyal lost that match 2-0, allowing goals in each half. It was a similar story against Phoenix Rising FC. King closed out the scoring in the second half. He sent in a right-footed shot from inside the penalty box and buried it past Fenlason. King charged on a ball rolling away from the six-yard box. He didn’t waste his chance and struck it with a one-timer.
The Phoenix Rising FC scoring play came off a cross from the left where it met the SD Loyal defense who tried to clear it but instead the ball ended up with King. It was that type of night for Donovan’s team as it would find space at midfield but could not convert up top.
Despite King’s scoring, SD Loyal continued to try and create chances. It nearly scored in the 73rd minute but Cubin, the Phoenix Rising FC goalkeeper made a save at his line.
The home side nearly extended its lead late in the match but the SD Loyal defense cleared the ball at the goal line and Fenlason blocked a shot right after that clearance.
SD Loyal will now bus out of the desert to host Reno 1868 FC Saturday Aug. 22 at USD Torero Stadium.