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Road Trip to Orange County Ends in 1-0 Loss to SoCal Rival

By San Diego Loyal, 10/21/21, 10:00AM PDT


SD Loyal allows first half goal by Orange County SC’s Eric

Irvine, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2021) –The objective was clear for SD Loyal. Win and earn the three points that would help secure a home match in the first round of the USL playoffs in November.

The goal will have to wait. SD Loyal allowed a first half goal in a 1-0 loss against host Orange County SC Wednesday night at Championship Soccer stadium. It was a night of miscues and a Week 27 Pacific Division match between Southern California rivals, both with heavy playoff interests.

SD Loyal already secured a post season berth but it wants to play in front of its fans while Orange County came in seeking to clinch and the win helped its cause.

It was Eric Calvillo propelling his team into the post season with his goal in the first half. Calvillo opened up the scoring when he bent a free kick from outside the penalty box, sending it into the right corner of the net, beating SD Loyal goalkeeper Austin Guerrero in the 26th minute.  

SD Loyal, who had a bus load of supporters make the road trip, tried to answer with a shot by Jake Blake from about 25-yards out but it was blocked by Orange County goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky. But it was Orange County who continued to get chances at goal late in the first half. The home team pressured enough after taking advantage of some SD Loyal inaccurate passing. Orange County got another free kick from right outside the penalty box but Guerrero was able to slap it away. He also dove low and sent away a low shot with one hand. It was the SD Loyal fouls that helped Orange County after SD Loyal began the match controlling possession and moving its lines freely into visitor territory. Fouls and errant passing by SD Loyal helped Orange County take the ball from the visitors and shift momentum in the match.

“We missed a little bit of sharpness tonight but we created enough chances to score, certainly one goal and many more, probably,” said SD Loyal manager Landon Donovan. “If you look at the chances created and you take everything else out of the game, you would have said we won the game. But that is soccer sometimes. I am very proud of our group. I would never want to be at home and play the way they played. I’m proud of our group for coming here and playing that way. I can live with a result like that, that’s soccer. That can happen but I am proud of their performance.”

Donovan made some substitutions in the second half, hoping to regain advantage in the possession game while trying to correct some of the inaccurate passing earlier in the match. Miguel Ibarra came on at the start of the second half for Jack Blake, who made his first start since returning from injury earlier this month. And then team scoring leader Tumi Moshobane came on for Oliver Larraz, who also was making his first start since recovering from a lengthy injury. Donovan made another change but because defender Josh Yaro was injured mid-way through the second half. Donovan also brought off two of its more explosive players in Alejandro Guido and Douglas Martinez Jr. for Ben Spencer and Corey Hertzog.

The substitutions helped SD Loyal begin to pressure offensively and spread the ball up field to create chances, including a 85th minute shot by Augustine Williams from near the six-yard box that went straight to Rakovsky. Orange County’s defense would eventually stand firm to secure the shutout.

SD Loyal, who remains in second place with 47 points, one ahead of Orange County,  can try to reach its clear objective next week when it hosts Oakland Roots in its final home regular season match Sunday Oct. 24. It is also its penultimate match before its first ever postseason appearance.

“This is a huge game on Sunday and (the players) know that,” Donovan said. “What I said to them is that although it would have been great to wrap it up tonight, there’s a lot of value having our team go through these hard games because it preps you for the playoffs. I’ve been on teams where you have a playoff spot secured with two or three to go and you let off the gas a little bit. This is going to force us to keep going. We’re in good shape. Our guys are excited for what’s coming and now they have two big opportunities to make statements and get a home playoff game.”


1-0: OC (26’) Eric Calvillo
SD Loyal -1. Austin Guerrero, 27. Douglas Martinez Jr.(80’ -21. Corey Hertzog), 7. Jack Blake (46’- 24. Miguel Ibarra)., 5. Grant Stoneman, 14. Josh Yaro (66’ -33. Callum Montgomery), 3. Elijah Martin, 17. Collin Martin, 10. Alejandro Guido (80’- 9. Ben Spencer),19. Oliver Larraz (61’- 11. Tumi Moshobane), 26. Augustine Williams, 6. Charlie Adams. (Coach: Landon Donovan.        


Orange County SC: -1. Patrick Rakovsky, 2. Kevin Alston, 23. Kobi Henry, 6. Michael Orozco, 16. Brent Richards, 3. Dillon Powers, 15. Eric Calvillo, 20. Ben Mines, 10. Brian Iloski, 19. Sean Okoli, 11. Ronaldo Damus. Coach: Richard Chaplow