By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–San Diego Loyal SC made its long-awaited return to Torero Stadium Friday night, playing to a 1-1 draw against first-place Sacramento Republic FC Friday night.
Ronaldo Damus scored by penalty kick in the second half while Sacramento Republic’s Damià Viader found the net in the first half of the USL Championship match. After not playing at home since May 13 after three-straight road matches, SD Loyal came home to its loud and loyal fans to earn a point in the conference standings against the team with the best record in the league.
Sacramento had allowed only seven goals prior to Friday’s match as the Western Conference leaders opted to sit back and defend for most of the 90 minutes. SD Loyal played its style, attacking and pressuring throughout the match.
But it was the visitors who scored first. Viader gave Sacramento a 1-0 lead with a left-footed shot from left to right, beating Koke Vegas to bury the shot into the lower-right corner of the net off a quick pass from Luis Rodrigues. The score came at a time when SD Loyal was controlling the pace of the match and had created a handful of scoring chances.
Midway through the second half, SD Loyal’s pressure paid off. Sacramento was whistled for a penalty kick after a handball by Connor Donovan was called. Donovan was shown a yellow after blocking off a shot by second half substitute Elliot Collier. Damus converted the penalty kick to tie the match, flicking his shot to the left of Sacramento goalkeeper Danny Vitiello. It was the Haitian striker’s fifth goal of the season, tying Evan Conway for the club lead. It was also Damus’ third goal in two games.
After Sacramento’s Russell Cicerone misfired on a wide-open net in the 78th minute, SD Loyal continued to pressure in the dying moments but couldn’t find the game-winner.
SD Loyal will cap off its two-match homestand with a quick turnaround, hosting San Antonio FC on June 14 at 7 p.m. in another Western Conference affair against the defending league champions. Tickets to that match are available now at sdloyal.com/tickets.
Goal Scoring Rundown
SAC – Damià Viader (Luis Felipe), 29th minute: Viader sent in a left-footed shot to the left of Koke Vegas to open up the scoring. SD 0, SAC 1
SD – Ronaldo Damus (Penalty), 69th minute: Damus converted a penalty kick, beating Danny Vitiello to his left to tie the match. SD 1, SAC 1