Las Vegas (Sept. 2, 2020) – Miguel Berry didn’t give up. The San Diego Loyal SC (SD Loyal) striker sprinted after a rolling ball to the corner flag Wednesday night.
He slid to keep the ball in, got up, dribbled and fed a pin-point pass that helped his team to a 1-1 draw against host Las Vegas Lights FC at Cashman Field in a USL Championship Group B match.
It was a full effort play that led to a Collin Martin 57th minute goal but it was not enough as Las Vegas Lights FC tied the match in the 73rd minute with a goal by Blake Frischknecht.
Martin had given SD Loyal a 1-0 lead after Berry kept the ball from going out near the left corner of the field. Berry took the ball from the corner flag, beat two defenders and dribbled towards the penalty box and found a wide-open Martin who sent in the blast past Las Vegas Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen.
The scoring play happened after SD Loyal began to move the ball a bit more fluidly in the second half. Donovan subbed newcomer Alejandro Guido for Francis Atuahene at the start of the second half. Guido helped create some room on the flanks and helped set up dangerous crosses. It was a combination of firsts on the scoring play. Martin’s first score with SD Loyal and Berry’s first assist.
Berry, who signed with SD Loyal last week, nearly scored his first goal with his new team in the 54th minute. He had a ball near the six-yard box, set up from Guido on a two-on-one run. But Berry sent his right-footed shot over the crossbar.
Las Vegas Lights FC (2-4-3, 9 points) had a few dangerous plays, one of those coming in a slow and lethargic first half. Burgos with a right-footed shot that hits the outside wall of the net on the right.
It was Frischknecht goal that saved a point for the home team. Frischknecht poked at a low rolling pass and sent it in as a one-timer, catching SD Loyal goalkeeper Jon Kempin off guard. Frischknecht appeared to be offsides when the ball hit his foot, but the referee allowed the goal. That goal keeps SD Loyal (3-4-4, 13 points) from three points and gives Donovan’s team a second-straight draw.
This was the third match between these two teams this season, which was rescheduled after a member of the Las Vegas Lights FC tested positive for COVID-19. SD Loyal made the trip to the desert via bus and headed back without playing.
Wednesday night, Donovan’s team spent the first half trying to find some space and a way to create some scoring chances to no avail. It wasn’t until the SD Loyal manager made changes at the half and Berry was able to create his pair of dangerous plays, including his full effort run and assist to Martin.
SD Loyal will be on the road again next week with a match against LA Galaxy II Wednesday Sept. 9.