By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–San Diego Loyal SC was back to USL Championship play in front of its home crowd and played to a 2-1 victory over FC Tulsa Saturday afternoon at Torero Stadium.
FC Tulsa’s own goal in second-half stoppage time plus an Evan Conway score earlier in the half proved to be the difference for SD Loyal in the club’s return to league play.
An intensely played match from the start, SD Loyal made the most of its two days of rest after debuting in the 2023 debut Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night with a 2-0 win over San Diego Albion. SD Loyal took a 1-0 lead against FC Tulsa in the 63rd minute but the visitors answered two minutes later with an equalizer from Rodrigo Da Costa. Coach Nate Miller’s team earned the win when Collin Fernandez headed into his own net on a Nick Moon cross in the final seconds of the match.
SD Loyal (3W-1L-1D, 10 points) earned three more points in the standings to remain undefeated at home as it heads back on the road next week for a Western Conference affair at New Mexico United on April 15. In its first-ever match against FC Tulsa in San Diego, SD Loyal opened the game pressuring the visitors, looking for a quick score with a handful of scoring chances each half.
The first score didn’t come until midway through the second half when Conway, who also scored in SD Loyal’s win against Albion, found his second goal of the USL Championship season. Conway slid at the goal line as a Charlie Adams cross came in. The forward tapped in the pass with his upper body for the 1-0 lead. Adams, who hit a penalty kick off the crossbar in the first half, sent his pass in off a run from the left flank.
FC Tulsa (1W-2L-3D, 6 points) answered Conway’s goal in the 65th minute when Da Costa, the club’s leading scorer, fired a left-footed shot from near the SD Loyal goal line. The Brazilian striker sent in his shot from inside the six-yard box past SD Loyal goalkeeper Koke Vegas, who had a key save in the first half, to tie the match. Da Costa brought down a floating ball from Milo Yosef that the defense could not clear, leaving it at Da Costa’s feet for the finish. SD Loyal continued to push late in the match, despite allowing the FC Tulsa equalizer and was rewarded for its efforts in the form of an own goal from the visitors in the closing seconds of the match.
With three points in the bag, SD Loyal will look for another positive result at New Mexico United Saturday and to extend its home undefeated streak on April 23 at 3 p.m. when it hosts another Eastern Conference foe in Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tickets to the match are available now at sdloyal.com/tickets.
Goal score notes:
SD – Evan Conway (Charlie Adams), 63rd minute: Conway scored off a cross by Charlie Adams from right to left. SD 1, TUL 0
TUL – Rodrigo Da Costa (Milo Yosef), 65th minute: Da Costa sent in a left-footed shot near the goal line off a cross by Yosef. SD 1, TUL 1
TUL – (Own Goal) Collin Fernandez, 90+4: Fernandez headed into his own net on a cross by Nick Moon in stoppage time. SD 2, TUL 1