Carson, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2021) –The drums, claps and chants echoed throughout the venue Saturday night. The sounds were loud enough to believe it was the home team’s supporter’s section. It was not.
It was SD Loyal that had support from a group of fans that included a mix of the supporter groups headlined by "The Locals”. And SD Loyal played the way its coach, Landon Donovan, likes it to play when on the road with a 3-0 win against Pacific Division rival LA Galaxy II. Donovan likes his team to mimic being the home side. It did just that, coming out with a fluid brand of soccer that had SD Loyal pressing with an attack early in the Week 24 match.
The sounds of percussion and chants came from the stands at the Track and Field Stadium, tucked away in the corner of the Dignity Health Sports Park complex in Carson, Calif. The cheers were louder when Josh Yaro and Elijah Martin scored for SD Loyal to help their team to three more points in the standings as it makes a run at USL Championship playoffs spot.
SD Loyal (13-10-4, 43 points) has won two-straight and its fourth victory in its last six matches. Donovan’s team remains in second place in the table, behind leader Phoenix Rising and six points ahead of Orange County SC.
And the win Saturday night came with the help of a pair of defenders finding the net in the style of soccer that Donovan likes to play at home at USD Torero Stadium 111 miles away from LA Galaxy’s Track and Field Stadium. Add a penalty kick by team captain Charlie Adams (82nd minute) and SD Loyal completed the sweep of the series 4-0.
SD Loyal took the 1-0 lead on this pitch when Yaro poked in a low quick pass by Augustine Williams into the six-yard box from left to right. The SD Loyal defender snuck into the attack and put away the ball that had come off an LA Galaxy II defender and hit the crossbar before it came down to Williams, who nearly had a score of his own when he sent a right-footed shot off the outside wall of the goal two minutes later. It was Yaro’s second goal of the season. Yaro ran away from the LA Galaxy II goal raising both arms then pointing at several teammates in celebration and dispersing credit in the 25th minute.
Martin got into the scoring action late in the first half when he sent in his first goal ever with SD Loyal in the 42nd minute. The quick and speedy defender sent in a shot from the heart of the penalty box after he pushed up in the attack. He fired his shot low and to the right, beating LA Galaxy II goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg. Martin found the ball after an LA Galaxy II defender errantly tried clearing the ball from near the goal line. The ball instead went straight to Martin who didn’t waste his chance for his first goal with the club. SD Loyal led 2-0 heading into halftime.
Martin sprinted away screaming and yelling while pumping both his arms by his sides in celebration, back to his line where he was to defend.
While defenders scored for SD Loyal, the back line continued to help keep the shutout. SD Loyal goalkeeper Austin Guerrero also helped his cause, earning his fifth shutout of the season. He helped keep that mark with a key save as LA Galaxy II’s Cameron Dunbar tried a quick shot from inside the area, but it wasn’t hard enough. Guerrero blocked it to end a threat during a period in the second half in which the home side moved up its lines and found rhythm in its attack.
That attack was subdued when Adams converted his penalty kick to close out the scoring after Tumi Moshobane was taken down in the penalty box.
SD Loyal held on for the three points to close out a 13-day span of not playing at home. It will be 20 days since playing a match at USD the next time it hosts a game. It will host Sacramento Republic Saturday Oct. 9 in a critical Week 25 match.
LA Galaxy II– 18. Justin Vom Steeg, 24. Danilo Acosta, 74. Markus Ferkranus, 44. Jalen Neal, 47. Owen Lambe, 37. Daniel Aguirre, 34. Taylor Davila, 27. Carlos Harvey, 56. Jonny Perez, 49. Remi Cabral, Jorge Hernandez. Coach: Junior Gonzalez