San Diego (June 29, 2021) -Miguel Ibarra took cover Tuesday night. The San Diego Loyal midfielder had to go to the ground and protect himself from his teammates. Ibarra was piled on after he helped his team to a 1-0 win against visiting Oakland Roots at Torero Stadium at USD.
The pile up was not only to celebrate Ibarra’s first goal (72') with SD Loyal but the club’s game-winner against an Oakland team that bunkered in its side of the field for most of the USL Championship Week 12 match.
Ibarra broke through after coming on as a second half sub, five minutes before the score. He took a Miguel Berry short pass while facing away from goal, made a half turn and blasted a right-footed shot into the right corner of the net. Oakland Roots goalkeeper Zeus De La Cruz could only stand and watch.
And Oakland watched manager Landon Donovan’s team earn three more points in the Pacific Division standings in the first ever meeting between these clubs. SD Loyal is now unbeaten in seven matches, riding a four-game win streak. SD Loyal (5-4-2, 17 points) is the only team in the division to win four-straight. It also moved into second place behind division leader Phoenix Rising. SD Loyal had start the season 0-4 before going on the seven-game unbeaten streak with Ibarra’s goal that also helped keep the team undefeated at home.
“It was a very good performance, not perfect,” Donovan said about the win. “It’s nice to send everyone home happy.”
Donovan, fans and players were happy along with Ibarra, the goal scorer.
“It’s a great feeling getting that goal,” Ibarra said. “What made it more special for me is that my parents came to watch this game. If my job is to come off the bench and help the team however I can, then that’s what I am going to do. It’s 100-percent about the team.”
Against the Roots Tuesday night, SD Loyal started moving the ball fluidly, pressuring the visitors. Tumi Moshobane and Corey Hertzog had scoring chances early on. Moshobane had a header slapped away by De La Paz at the goal line near left post for a corner kick. Hertzog sent a shot just wide of the left post off a pass by Moshobane, who kept the ball to the end line before his cross in the 13th minute. Hertzog then sent a left-footed shot from a cross by Collin Martin saved at the line by De La Paz at his line.
Oakland (1-3-2, 5 points) spent the rest of the night waiting on its side of the field while SD Loyal moved up its lines, looking to counterattack. Oakland had a chance to tie the match in stoppage time on a shot from former Loyal player Emrah Klimenta but SD Loyal goalkeeper Austin Guerrero dove to make a diving save to keep the shutout. It was the club’s first shutout of the season in Guerrero’s first start.
“This is like a dream come true, my whole family was here,” Guerrero said. “You just grind, and you grind and when the opportunity comes, it’s special. I’m stoked because the whole team (explicit) killed it tonight. I didn’t have a ton of shots because the team played so well defensively, and I was just happy to be able to do my part.”
SD Loyal will now host Sacramento Republic for a nationally televised match on ESPN2, Saturday July 3 at Torero Stadium at USD.
Oakland Roots: 1. Zeus De La Paz, 2. Ariel Mbumba, 6. Torek Morad, 7. Matias Fissore, 8. Saalih Muhammed, 9. Jeremy Bokila, 11. Jesus Enriquez, 15. Akeem O’Connor-Ward, 22. Danny Flores, 23. Memo Diaz, 33. Kai Greene. Coach: Jordan Ferrell