San Diego, CA–It was a play that perhaps came at the correct moment. San Diego Loyal SC had spent moments threatening with shots off the crossbar, the post, and had shots blocked at the goal line Saturday night.
Then it happened. It was something out of a highlight reel. And it was enough to help SD Loyal to a 2-1 come-from-behind win against visiting LA Galaxy II at a limited capacity but loud Torero Stadium at USD.
The play: Miguel Berry headed in the game-winner off a long cross from Alejandro Guido to beat LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann. Berry sped into the penalty area while Guido sprinted up the right-flank. The Chula Vista native then crossed a pin-point volley to Berry who headed it into the back of the net, leaving Klinsmann with no chance in the 84th minute. It was the second play of the night by Alejandro Guido, worthy of the highlight reel.
The midfielder who came on in the second half helped change the pace of the game, including a goal of his own in the 75th minute. Guido passed a ball to himself in between Taylor Avila’s legs, sped up the field, and fired a right-footed shot into the net. Klinsmann didn’t have time to react but to see it in the net. It was Guido’s second goal in front of a home crowd this season.
“At the beginning of the game I was telling myself I have to shoot more and when it went in. I just couldn’t believe it but I went nuts,” Guido said about his goal. “I’m so stoked. It was beautiful and awesome. It was fun.”
The pair of standout plays combined with key saves by SD Loyal goalkeeper Try Muse helped the Loyal team preserve a chance for the come back and earn three more points in the Week 8 USL Championship match.
“I’ve done it a few times here but this one is a little bit different, the fans are unbelievable,” Berry said about his goal. “We knew they would be. I’ve played here in front of a lot fewer people in my college days but it’s nice to see this place rocking. Guido came in and did his thing. I knew it was going to be a goal. I am glad he did and it came in the right time of the night.”
It was a night that had SD Loyal (2-4-2, 8 points) creating chances and often displaying a fluid brand of soccer. But despite the SD Loyal rhythm on the pitch, the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 61st minutes.
Jorge Hernandez gave the Pacific Division rival LA Galaxy II (3-3-2, 11 points) a 1-0 lead when he dribbled into the right side of the SD Loyal penalty area and sped into the box and fired in front of two defenders. His shot rolled in between SD Loyal goalkeeper Trey Muse and the right post.
The post helped LA Galaxy II in the second half as the home side was pressuring looking to get on the board. Guido nearly scored on his first attempt after coming on in the 69th minutes for Thomas Vancaeyezeele. Guido found some space and he sent a right-footed volley from inside the penalty area off the crossbar.
Tumi Moshobane also had his chance. The forward nearly scored with a point-blank shot that was blocked at the goal line by Klinsmann.
And then came Guido’s play between the legs of the defender and his cross to Berry for the header that sealed the win. SD Loyal has earned points in the last four matches, including two of those on the road.
“This is continuing process for us and it’s hard to describe progress when you lose the first four. It’s hard to see that,” said SD Loyal manager Landon Donovan. “Results matter but equally what’s important to me is how we progress. This is a long season.”
Donovan’s team has another home match next week when it hosts Phoenix Rising FC in a Week 9 match on June 19.
Donovan’s team has another home match next week this time with the opportunity for full capacity when it hosts Phoenix Rising FC in a Week 9 match Saturday, June 19.