San Diego Loyal beats Tampa Bay in dramatic fashion

Any San Diego Loyal fan will tell you that the team has been on the short end when it comes to giving up last-minute goals in USL Championship games with the most recent example coming in its April 13 match against Oakland Roots.

This time was San Diego’s turn to enjoy a late game-deciding score after a 3-2 victory comeback win over the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night.

Midfielder Nick Moon gave the visitors the lead in the 19th minute thanks to a beautiful strike from just inside the box that found the top-left corner of the net and beat the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Raiko Arozarena.

The advantage did not last long thanks to forward Jake LaCava who was able to get by the San Diego defense and beat goalkeeper Koke Vegas one on one to tie the game in the 21st minute. The home team took a 2-1 lead in the 41st minute when midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti scored on a half-bicycle kick from point-blank range after the ball bounced off the chest of defender Kyle Adams from a deflected corner kick.

Midfielder Jack Blake tied the game in the 75th-minute thank to a gorgeous pass from teammate Kyle Vassell who had outmuscled the Tampa Bay defense for the ball finding a wide-open Blake in the middle of the box.

The game-winner came in the 88th minute courtesy of a quick pass from forward Tumi Moshobane down the side to a streaking Evan Conway who used his left foot to beat Arozarena for the 3-2 final.

“I’m so proud of our guys,” said Loyal head coach Landon Donovan. “The first two years of this club we wouldn’t have won games like this. Our guys just kept going and they believed they could win the game, I think they deserved to win the game.”

The victory keeps San Diego in third place of the Western Conference standings with 19 points after nine matches played with its next game on Saturday, May 7 at New Mexico United before returning home on May 14 to face conference leader Colorado Springs.


Photo courtesy: San Diego Loyal 

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