San Diego (July 10, 2021) -Manager Landon Donovan said he told his players to soak in the experience. After all, he had played in many international competitions throughout his career as a player.
Saturday night, his players got a taste of what it is like to have what Donovan called “a real soccer game.” SD Loyal got to see the quality of the LIGA MX in a 1-0 loss against visiting Club Tijuana in an international friendly at Torero Stadium at USD.
Edgar Lopez scored in the 34th minute when he took a loose ball inside the penalty box and sent it low and just inside the right post. SD Loyal goalkeeper Austin Guerrero. It was the only goal of the tightly played match that featured both teams using all of its players on their rosters.
Donovan opted to use mostly starters with only goalkeeper Trey Muse and Jack Blake sitting out for rest. The others got a taste of international soccer of what Donovan called “a couple levels above us.”
“We can’t create an experience like this without having it,” Donovan said. “You can’t talk to them (SD Loyal players) about what higher level players look like until you feel it in a game like this. There’s no substitute playing against really great players. Glad no one got injured and it was a great experience for our young kids and the players who don’t get a lot of minutes.”
One of those players was goalkeeper Antony Siaha who came on in the second half for Guerrero, along with the 10 other subs as part of a full 11-man swap at the half. Siaha got to see a handful of good looks as Club Tijuana created some dangerous situations.
Misael Dominguez had a pair of chances late. He sent a shot that Siaha was just able to slap away over the crossbar. A few minutes before that, Dominguez had sent another powerful shot saved by Siaha at his line. Marcel Ruiz also tested the Tucson, Ariz. native as he caught the floating ball near his line for a total of five saves in his 45 minutes of action.
SD Loyal had chances of its own. Corey Hertzog nearly scored twice. He had a header in the 41st minute flying over the Tijuana crossbar. He also sent a cross to the heart of the box on a run up the left side of the penalty box to Tumi Moshobane but couldn’t connect with him as he charged the goal.
Midfielder Alejandro Guido came out moving the ball up field helping create these chances. He had before faced players of the caliber Donovan talked about. Guido played for Club Tijuana earlier in his career.
“I was definitely motivated against my former team,” said Guido who played only the first half. “It was a lot of fun. It was a good game. I really enjoyed it. I could have never imagined this, two professional teams from the area and now it’s happening being able to play in front of my family, involving two teams I’ve been part of.
As for his younger teammates and their performance, Guido had only but praise.
“What else can you ask for as a 16-year-old playing against a professional team in front of 6,000 people in front of their families,” Guido said. “They really need to take advantage of that. I thought they did really well.”
Club Tijuana: 24. Benny Diaz, 3. Eduardo Tercero, 34. Victor Guzman, 15. Yonatthan Rak, 12. Brayan Angulo, 23. Luis Gamiz, 14. Christian Rivera, 19. Marcel Ruiz, 7. Eryc Castillo, 29. Ivan Lopez, 11. Lucas Rodriguez. Coach: Robert Siboldi