FRIDAY: SD Loyal travels to the desert for the start of a new season in its second year in existence against 2020 Western Conference champion Phoenix Rising FC.
WHAT: 2021USL Championship season opener for SD Loyal and Phoenix in a Pacific Division battle on national television. It is the first SD Loyal match in nearly seven months and it comes against a regional rival at the new Wild Horse Pass Stadium.
The wait is over. USL Championship soccer is back and San Diego Loyal SC starts the 2021 season with a road match against division rival Phoenix Rising FC. Manager Landon Donovan has prepared his team for its second season this spring with more than a handful of preseason matches. A combination of new young and veteran players and returning starters could set what can be a competitive roster in the Pacific Division. The additions of Jack Blake, Corey Hertzog and Niki Jackson has shown a surge in the attack this preseason. Add returning midfielder Alejandro Guido and Jack Metcalf to the mix and SD Loyal could have one of the strongest offensive groups in the league. Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Joshua Yaro join the defensive backline to add a stifling force with returners Grant Stoneman and team co-captain Sal Zizzo. Trey Muse was added on loan from Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders as he takes over the goalkeeper spot. SD Loyal begins with four-straight home matches before its home opener May 29that USD Torero Stadium.
SD Loyal can play spoiler in Phoenix’s season opener at its new stadium. Phoenix is the2020 Western Conference champion and it’s considered one of the best teams this season. It spent most of its 12 preseason rotating lineups after a handful of key additions to its roster. James Musa, Deklan Wynne, Jeremy Kelly, Ryan Flood and Aodhan Quinn are on that list. Andre Rawls has come in at the goalkeeper position who could be a solid replacement for Zac Lubin, who is out indefinitely with a back injury. Solomon Asante, Jon Bakero and Santi Moar return in the lineup.