SATURDAY: Torero Stadium will be open to full capacity when SD Loyal hosts Pacific Division rival Phoenix Rising FC in a Week 10 match to be broadcasted on Fox 5 San Diego. The match will also be broadcasted on Azteca 33 in Spanish.
WHAT: SD Loyal hosts Phoenix Rising FC on “619” night. The club celebrates the city with its fans in the first match available to be at full capacity since the inaugural match March 7, 2020.
It’s a moment players and coaches were waiting for. But perhaps waiting more desperately, the fans. SD Loyal is slated to play in front of a capacity crowd Saturday when it hosts Phoenix Rising FC in a Week 10 match.
Manager Landon Donovan and his squad is coming off an emotional finish in a 2-1 come-from-behind win against visiting LA Galaxy II last weekend. There was already a buzz a that match with Torero Stadium at USD at limited capacity. How will it be with SD Loyal’s faithful at full force? Striker Miguel Berry said he already expects it to be a madhouse with all the support he and his teammates need. After all, it is a match against a very familiar Pacific Division rival.
“We don’t need any extra motivation to play Phoenix but for me personally, it’s such a challenge because of the success they’ve had,” Berry said. “We want to be like that, but obviously, we’re a newer side in our second year. They’ve set the mark but I think we know that we can beat them. They are a great team with great players. We want to win this one, too.”
SD Loyal heads into this match having earned points in its last four matches, helping it move up the division standings to fourth place heading into this week. One of those points includes a 2-2 draw at Phoenix Rising FC June 5.
Phoenix Rising remains as one of the top teams in the USL Championship with 16 points in the standings and a 5-1-1 record. It is coming off a convincing 3-0 win against Tacoma Defiance and it has not lost since May 15. Defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Rowdies is the only team to beat Phoenix Rising this season.
SD Loyal was stoppage time away from beating Phoenix. It took a 2-0 lead into extra time with goals by Berry and Jack Blake. But Phoenix found a way to score in the additional seven minutes given in the match and was able to get the 2-2 draw. It was a match in which SD Loyal was able to, for the most part, neutralize Phoenix’s attack and be able to create scoring chances.
Phoenix comes into this match as the leading scoring team in the league with 19 goals. It also leads with 150 shots with a steady lead over Louisville City FC’s 107 shots. SD Loyal is third with 102. Santi Moar is tied for the league scoring leader with six goals, the same as LA Galaxy’s Jorge Hernandez and Birmingham Legion FC’s Neco Brett. Salomon Asante has scored five goals for Phoenix. Rick Shultz’ team is also solid on defense and at the goalkeeper position. Benjamin Lundt comes in with a league-leading three clean sheets, tied with six others.