Oakland, Calif. (Sept. 11, 2021) – Josh Yaro, Augustine Williams and Charlie Adams. The trio of San Diego Loyal players took their chance. Each one of them sending dangerous shots at goal Saturday night.
But each of them had Paul Blanchette in the way of finding the net. SD Loyal pressured and had a handful of scoring opportunities but could not convert them in a scoreless draw against Oakland Roots at Laney College Field in a Week 21 USL Championship match.
SD Loyal battled through a tightly contested first half and a second half where it played a bit more fluidly on offense but couldn’t catch a break in its first visit to the Bay Area. Coach Landon Donovan’s team came out of Northern Alameda County with a point in the Pacific Division standings. SD Loyal (10-9-4, 34 points) continues in the fight for one of the top-four spots in the table to earn a post season slot with nine regular season matches remaining.
The draw also keeps SD Loyal unbeaten in its last three matches. But ends a scoring streak that had Donovan’s team outscoring opponents 12-4 in its last four games before facing Oakland Roots for the second time this season.
The scoring chances were there for SD Loyal as it also held its ground in the backline against an Oakland team that has lost once in its last nine games.
Oakland held SD Loyal out of the net in a hard-fought match on the artificial surface. SD Loyal began to show its attack in the first half when new addition Augustine Williams had one of the first real chances of the game.
Williams sent a header on target but it was slapped away by Blanchette at the last moment, just below the crossbar. Williams sent his long header off a cross from Elijah Martin on a cross from left to right.
Even the SD Loyal defense got in the attack.
Josh Yaro tries a shot with a header inside the six-yard box, sending his point-blank shot straight to Blanchette at his goal line in the 54th minute. Blanchette was there for another save two minutes later, diving to his left to stop the low shot by Yaro.
Donovan’s squad also tried to score from a distance. Charlie Adams tried his luck with a shot from outside the penalty box but Blanchette was there again to dive and make the save.
Oakland also had a chance later in the match. It thought it had scored in what perhaps was its most dangerous play offensively Saturday night. Johnny Rodriguez sent in a right-footed shot past Austin Guerrero put it was annulled in the 76th minute. Offsides on the play.
SD Loyal thought it would have a shot at possibly taking the lead in stoppage time when Adams was taken down in the penalty box but there was no foul called. Instead, Adams was shown a yellow for going to the ground.
These two clubs are slated to play each other two more times, once later this month and the final of the four-game series in October.
SD Loyal will next prepare for its next match, an affair at home against Tacoma Defiance Sunday Sept. 19 at Torero Stadium at USD.
Oakland Roots: 20. Paul Blanchette, 15. Akeem Ward, 21. Emrah Klimenta, 33. Kai Greene, 23. Memo Diaz, 4. Max Ornstil, 7. Matias Fissore, 5. Wal Fall, 18. Jose Hernandez (81’- 2. Ariel Mbumba), 11. Jesus Enriquez (64’- 10. Lindo Mfeka), 61. Johnny Rodriguez. Coach: Jordan Farrell