FRIDAY: SD Loyal heads to Nevada for its Week 11 match at Las Vegas Lights FC. The Pacific Division match is slated to be broadcasted on Fox 5 San Diego. The match will also be broadcasted on Azteca 33 in Spanish.
It’s another road match for Manager Landon Donovan’s team. It visits Las Vegas Lights FC in a match in which Donovan will not have Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Jack Maher available to play. Vancaeyezeele is on international duty with the French Guiana national team while Maher was called back to his club, Nashville SC of Major League Soccer. Vancaeyezeele was called to camp with French Guiana as it vies to earn a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The defender was signed by SD Loyal in December and has started in seven of eight games played this season, totaling 629 minutes. Maher heads back to Tennessee where he was summoned to help his club after standout performances with SD Loyal since joining the team on loan on May 28.
Nashville Soccer Club announced today it has terminated the loan agreement with SD Loyal and recalled Maher as he is set to join Nashville SC ahead of its home match against Toronto FC tonight.
Maher worked his way into the starting lineup the next day for SD Loyal’s home opener against Las Vegas Lights FC. He went on to start in five games and helped stabilize the backline that improved over the team’s last five unbeaten matches. Maher had an assist and had 321 successful passes and a passing accuracy of 85.8 percent. Nashville SC originally selected Maher with the first ever pick in club history and second overall in the 2020 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
SD Loyal looks to continue adding points to the standings as it continues playing Pacific Division rivals. Donovan’s team is unbeaten in its last five games after starting the season 0-4. It moved into fourth place of the standings heading into this week. A win at Las Vegas could help SD Loyal gain momentum as it goes into a stretch of three games in one week. Las Vegas is first. SD Loyal already beat the team from The Sin City May 29 in the home opener at Torero Stadium at USD. It took a pair of second half goals by Alejandro Guido and Corey Hertzog to do that. But that was a different team. At least that’s what Donovan explained.
“We’ve grown a lot,” Donovan said. “But we have to make sure we continue growing. We have to pick up points on the road since we lost points on the road early on (this season).”
SD Loyal is 0-4-2 on the road this USL Championship season.
On the other hand, Las Vegas has lost once at home in three matches. The loss came last week against Orange County SC. It was its first loss in four games as it moved out of last place in the division with a three-game unbeaten streak from June 5 to June 16. Las Vegas is in a transitional season after MLS side LAFC took over soccer operations this off season. The partnership with LAFC brought former U.S. National Team player Steve Cherundolo to coach Las Vegas Lights as it tries to change the team’s culture after several losing seasons.