San Diego (Sept. 13, 2020) – Alejandro Guido pumped his fist repeatedly and then kissed it Sunday night. The San Diego Loyal SC (SD Loyal) midfielder then pumped his fist again in celebration as he continued to help pump life into his team’s offense, leading to another win.
This time it was Guido scoring a pair of goals to help coach Landon Donovan’s team to a 2-0 win against visiting Orange County SC in a USL Championship match at Torero Stadium.
Guido was corralled by teammates after that last fist pump as SD Loyal celebrated his right-footed goal in the 41st minute. They wrapped him with hugs again in the 65th minute when he sent in his second of the night to close out the scoring.
That second goal also helped SD Loyal (5-4-4, 19 points) to three important points, helping Donovan’s team into second place in Group B as the squad makes a run for the playoffs with three regular season matches remaining. SD Loyal has now won back-to-back matches for the first time after beating LA Galaxy II Wednesday night. The win streak has come thanks in part to the addition of Guido and a handful of other players in the last few weeks.
Guido, who had helped SD Loyal become more dynamic at midfield along with Rubio Rubin, sent in the first score with a low right-footed shot. The midfielder took a pass by Elijah Martin from the left, dribbled down the middle and fired his shot from just outside the half circle on top of the box. The shot went past Orange County SC goalkeeper Frederik Due into the left side of the Orange County SC goal for the 1-0 lead.
"I thought the performance was really good in a lot of ways," Donovan said. "It was not as beautiful to watch as the Galaxy game the other night but this was a big boy soccer game and our guys came to play. They competed and they battled. It wasn't perfect but sometimes you just have to grind out a win.That was two moments of brilliance by Guido and a really, really good team performance I am very happy for the guys."
Guido’s second score came when he rainbowed a volley over defenders into the net from the top of the box off a corner kick. He brought down a ball punched out by Orange County SC goalkeeper Frederik Due and struck it with a touch into the net in the 65th minute. Those were the first two goals for Guido with SD Loyal but not his first key play with the team. The Chula Vista native has helped spark a fluid midfield, resulting in a handful of scoring chances since he came over on loan from MLS side LAFC earlier this month.
A trio in newcomers in Miguel Berry, Rubin and Guido have shaped a new offense for SD Loyal. Guido and Rubin were at it with combination plays and runs. Guido fed Rubin who tried a shot but it was saved by Due in the 39th minute. Rubin nearly helped set up a goal in the 56th minute when he fed Miguel Berry on a quick play. Berry sent a shot to the middle of the goal but it was cleared at the goal line by Orange County SC’s Rob Kiernan.
Both teams spent much of the first half trying to find a rhythm and test each other early on. SD Loyal had a couple of chances with Guido and Rubio taking shots. Orange County SC began to push up field a few minutes later. It appeared the visiting side was going to have a chance at a penalty kick when SD Loyal goalkeeper Jon Kempin slid into a ball as an Orange County SC player went after the ball. Referee Ricardo Fierro showed Kempin a yellow card but then waived it off. Kempin appeared to have slid into the ball before making contact with the Orange County SC player on the play right before the mandatory first half hydration break.
SD Loyal broke out into a fluid style of play after that as Guido sent the team to another win. Donovan’s team will now head to the desert to face Phoenix Rising FC Saturday Sept. 19.
"I'm proud of our guys for going through a bad stretch we lost three in a row and we got two hard-fought draws on the road and now put together back to back wins," Donovan said. "There are three games left two of them against a very good Phoenix team and a very good Galaxy team. It's not going to be easy but with put ourselves in a position now where we control our destiny if we were to win out. We are right in the thick of it now."