San Diego, CA–Tumi Moshobane ran and pointed towards him Saturday night. He wore a smile from cheek to cheek. The San Diego Loyal Soccer Club midfielder made his way to teammate Jack Blake and embraced him to celebrate taking the lead.
It was a moment SD Loyal would cherish but the celebration didn’t last long. SD Loyal went on to give up a pair of goals soon after that resulted in a 2-1 loss against visiting Orange County SC at Torero Stadium at USD.
Moshobane had rewarded his club with his team-leading seventh goal of the season on a left-footed shot inside the left post on an assist by Blake. The assist came from the right side, just outside the penalty box. Blake found a mobile Moshobane in some open space. The South African fired around his defender, leaving Orange County goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky without a chance in the 56th minute.
“I saw (Jack) going down the line and I knew that he was going to rush into the box so I got into my line and made sure I was open,” Moshobane said. “I headed up and saw the goalkeeper stay and the left side was wide open. “In soccer, you can’t be comfortable with a goal. You have to keep pushing for the second one or a third just to be comfortable. Obviously, when they scored it was little bit demoralizing but the guys did a good job trying to fight back and push for the equalizer.”
Moshobane celebrated it as the Week 18 USL Championship match appeared to be shifting in rhythm to SD Loyal (8-9-3, 27 points). After all, it came at a time that Landon Donovan’s team was playing a fluid brand of soccer, creating space and pressuring Orange County’s back line.
That changed in a matter of eight minutes.
Orange County answered Moshobane’s goal with a pair of its own. It didn’t waste much time to take a 2-1 lead. Rolando Damus tied the match 1-1 in the 64th minute when he made his way past his defender through the right side of the SD Loyal penalty box and fired a low-rolling shot that was just out of the reach of goalkeeper Austin Guerrero. Orange County added another one-two minutes later. This time it was thanks to an own goal by SD Loyal. A shot by Orange County’s Brian Iloski deflected off defender Jordan Chavez and into the SD Loyal net. Chavez, who made his first pro start, could not clear the Iloski shot that hit off his leg.
The pair of goals by the visitor sparked SD Loyal to push its lines late in the match, looking for the equalizer. SD Loyal, who played without a handful of starters and relied on younger players and recent signings, had shots go over the crossbar and wide of the mark in the dying moments of the match.
“I am actually really proud of our team,” Donovan said. “They refuse to be every other USL team. Teams we watch, teams we play in the league are just every other USL team and we don’t ever want to be that. I am proud of my team and obviously, the two moments that they had were the difference in the game but I thought the performance was excellent and we’re getting guys back healthy. I am looking forward to the last 12 games.”
Saturday’s match was the last of a four-game homestand and the fifth of six matches this month. SD Loyal finished the homestand 1-3, earning three points. The result against Orange County sends Donovan’s team to fourth place in the standings. SD Loyal’s last match of the month is at Sacramento Republic Saturday, Aug. 28.
SD: 1-0 (56’) Tumi Moshobane (Assist: Jack Blake)
OC: 1-1 (64’) Rolando Damus (Assist: Kevin Alston)
OC: 1-2 (66’) Jordan Chavez (Own goal)