San Diego, CA–Corey Hertzog walked into Torero Stadium at USD in Red, White and Blue clad Saturday afternoon. The San Diego Loyal SC striker wore a one-piece shirt and shorts combo, known as a romper. And he walked in wearing sunglasses with a United States flag hologram.
Hertzog also nearly walked into the opponent’s goal on a scoring play on the day his team celebrated Independence Day and honored the military. Hertzog headed in a score inches away from the goal line in a 1-1 draw against visiting Sacramento Republic. The Pennsylvania native sent the more than 4,200 in attendance into a frenzy as his score helped extend SD Loyal’s unbeaten streak to eight.
Hertzog sent in his second goal of the season in the 62nd minute when he connected on Miguel Ibarra’s pin-point cross from just inside the left side of the penalty area. Hertzog sprinted up the middle of the box to meet Ibarra’s pass with a header.
“It was a great ball that Miggy (Ibarra) sent in. I was just trying to get any part of my body on it. I don’t know what hit it or where it went but I am just glad it found the back of the net. I was happy.”
It was a play that SD Loyal had been building on for most of the second half against a Sacramento Republic team that defended its side while playing a physical type of soccer. Hertzog’s goal began with Alejandro Guido and Jack Blake moving the ball near the left flank and ultimately getting it to a sprinting Ibarra up field.
But Sacramento Republic would tie the match in stoppage time when Mitch Taintor beat Callum Montgomery at the heart of the six-yard box, putting the header past Trey Muse. Kharlton Belmar sent a cross from near the left sideline from about 20-yards out, catching Montgomery off guard.
Sacramento, who came into the match without a win in six games, nearly caught SD Loyal off guard when Muse had to backpedal into his penalty area as Dan Casey tries to catch him off his line. Casey took his shot from midfield after stealing a ball from Hertzog. Muse had to reach back to make the save as he came back to his line.
“It’s frustrating, frustrating when you lose points when a game ends like that,” Donovan said. “It’s still part of the learning process. We didn’t play well today but it was a very difficult week. We played a very good team who was well rested and prepared while we played a midweek game. We knew it was going to be a challenge.”
Donovan’s team also nearly had a surprise goal on a quick play in the 16th minute. Montgomery hit the crossbar off a long cross from Charlie Adams from left to right.
The tie gives SD Loyal (5-4-3, 18 points) a point in the Pacific Division table as it remains undefeated at home in five matches.
SD Loyal will now enter a break from USL Championship action but will remain active with an internationally friendly match at home against LIGA MX side Club Tijuana Xolos Saturday July 10 at Torero Stadium.
SD Loyal 1, Sacramento Republic 1
SD: 1-0 (62’) Corey Hertzog (Assist: Miguel Ibarra)
SAC: 1-1 (90+4′) Mitch Taintor (Assist: Kharlton Belmar)
SD Loyal -16. Trey Muse, 5. Grant Stoneman, 33. Callum Montgomery, 4. Jack Metcalf, 3. Elijah Martin, 7. Jack Blake, 24. Miguel Ibarra, 21. Corey Hertzog (87’- Ben Spencer), 10. Alejandro Guido (81’ -11. Tumi Moshobane), 6. Charlie Adams, 17. Collin Martin (81’ -14. Josh Yaro). Coach: Landon Donovan.
Sacramento Republic: 27. Tomas Gomez, 30. Jordan McCrary, 36. Nabi Kibunguchy, 5. Dan Casey, 14. Markhus Lacroix, 96. Luis Felipe Rodrigues, 23. Mario Penagos, 8. Petteri Pennanen, 7. Tucker Bone, 10. Dariusz Formella, 31. Cam Iwasa. Coach: Mark Briggs