San Diego, CA–San Diego Loyal SC played to a 3-0 loss against visiting Oakland Roots SC Sunday night in a Western Conference Quarterfinals match at Torero Stadium.
The loss eliminates coach Landon Donovan’s team from postseason play and ends the club’s run at a USL Championship title.
A hard-fought match brought the club’s best season and second-consecutive playoff appearance to a bittersweet end on a night San Diego celebrated its first men’s outdoor soccer USL Championship postseason home match.
Oakland moves on to the Western Conference Semifinals where it will travel to top-seeded San Antonio FC after finding goals from Charlie Dennis (37th minute), Lindo Mfeka (52nd minute) and Matias Fissore (90+1 minute).
SD Loyal finished the regular season earning the No. 2 seed in the conference after a 18W-9L-6D record and 60 points. Against No. 7 seed Oakland Roots Sunday, SD Loyal controlled the match for most of the first half until Oakland opened the scoring with Dennis’ goal. The forward gave his team a 1-0 lead when he sent a left-footed shot past SD Loyal goalkeeper Koke Vegas in a tight window to the upper left corner of the net. Dennis’ shot was the only one for Oakland in the first half.
SD Loyal came out looking for the equalizer in the second half against a Roots team that began to sit back and defend. Donovan’s team looked for ways to break through the Oakland defensive stand but eventually allowed a second goal on a defensive mistake.
Lindo Mfeka gave the visitors a 2-0 lead when he tapped a ball into an open net. The forward took a deflection off Vegas after Kyle Adams tried to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper. Mfeka created the scoring play after intercepting Adam’s pass.
SD Loyal continued to try and pressure the bunkered Oakland Roots team but couldn’t find an answer. Donovan’s team finished with eight men after Thomas Amang, Alejandro Guido and Grant Stoneman were sent off deep in the second half for yellow card accumulations.
Fissore punched in the third and final score for Oakland in stoppage time for the final goal of the night.
With a bright future on the horizon, SD Loyal heads into the offseason looking to prepare for its fourth year in the USL Championship in 2023.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
OAK – Charlie Dennis (Lindo Mfeka), 37th minute: Dennis sent a shot into the upper left corner of the net in a tight window to beat Koke Vegas. SD 0, OAK 1
OAK – Lindo Mfeka, 52nd minute: Mfeka takes a bad pass and beats Vegas after a deflection to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. SD 0, OAK 2
OAK – Matias Fissore, 91st minute: Fissore scored the final goal of the match on a counter play against an eight-man SD Loyal squad. SD 0, OAK 3