WHAT: On Sunday, Oct. 24, San Diego Loyal is slated to host Oakland Roots for the last matchup of the four-match series. The Week 28 match will be broadcasted on YurView and ESPN+ and on Azteca America 33 in Spanish.
The objective is still clear.
“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 in having our team go through these hard games because it prepares 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.”
Donovan saw his team struggle at times against Orange County but it mostly played to its coach’s pleasing.
“We missed a little bit of sharpness (Wednesday) but we created enough chances to score, certainly one goal and many more, probably,” Donovan said. “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.”
SD Loyal has performed well enough that it ran into this scenario and still has a chance to get a home first round playoff match with two regular season matches remaining. Donovan hopes his team can do that against Oakland. After all, SD Loyal (14-11-5, 47 points) was on a three-game unbeaten streak before losing to Orange County, who trails SD Loyal by a point in third place.
Ironically, it was Orange County who helped SD Loyal clinch a postseason berth last weekend. It beat SD Loyal’s next opponent Oakland Roots. The Bay Area team comes into Sunday's match having played to a scoreless draw against Tacoma Defiance Wednesday night after a quick turnaround. It faced Tacoma for the fourth and final time this season under unstable conditions in the rain. Oakland controlled possession early and maintained it through the first half. It continued that control in the second half but despite trying to break through with substitutions by head coach Jordan Ferrell, Oakland had to settle for a point.
The point helped Oakland keep alive its hopes of getting into the playoffs. The top four teams in the division get in. Oakland Roots comes in with a 9-13-8 record with 35 points, four behind fourth place LA Galaxy II.
Playoff ticket deposits for a potential home playoff match can now be made here.
Single match tickets for the home regular season finale on October 24 at Torero Stadium are on sale at the special price of $10.24 for Fan Appreciation Day. Tickets can be purchased at sdloyal.com/tickets.