Irvine, Calif. (Aug. 29, 2020) –Miguel Berry hurdled over a few short bushes Saturday night. The San Diego Loyal SC forward had just run out of room. He couldn’t find an angle to shoot and instead speed past the end line to the side of the goal.
It was that kind of night for Berry on his new team SD Loyal. Coach Landon Donovan’s team could not find a break in a scoreless tie against host Orange County SC at Championship Soccer Stadium.
It was Berry’s debut with SD Loyal after coming over on loan from Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew earlier this week. The newcomer didn’t get many opportunities or touches in a tight match that featured both teams trying to win midfield. Berry’s run in the 67th minute of the Group B match was one of a few chances by SD Loyal.
Berry broke away from his mark on a one-on-one against Orange County SC goalkeeper Fred Due but he dribbled too far and ran out of room as Due closed out space, slid and grabbed the ball. Berry could not get a shot off with three defenders chasing behind him and hurdled over Due. Berry was one Donovan’s additions in an attempt to spark his offense. The offense could not catch a break Saturday night. SD Loyal could not get enough balls to its forwards, including Berry, leading to the tie.
The tie gives SD Loyal (3-4-3, 12 points) a point in the standings, its first since a scoreless tie at home against Sacramento Republic Aug. 1. The point also keeps SD Loyal in third place, tied with LA Galaxy II while Orange County SC moves to 15 points with a 4-1-3 record in the Group B standings.
The Group B teams spent much of the first half Saturday trying to get a feel for each other’s playing style, neither creating really dangerous attacks. Orange County SC had what was perhaps the clearest chance of the half when Sean Okoli sent a header just wide off the SD Loyal left post off a set piece.
The first time these two teams played it was at USD Torero Stadium with Orange County SC scoring twice in the second half despite SD Loyal controlling possession and pressing forward.
This time, Orange County SC was able to generate more chances. It nearly scored in the 52nd minute when Darwin Jones sped up field through the left and fired a shot off the bottom of the crossbar. The ball ricocheted down into the six-yard box and SD Loyal managed to clear the ball to end the threat.
SD Loyal will continue on the road as it visits Las Vegas Lights FC Wednesday Sept. 2 in a rescheduled match that was postponed due to someone for Las Vegas Lights FC tested positive for COVID-19.