San Diego Loyal SC takes the field and defeats FC Dallas, 1-0

San Diego Loyal SC takes the field and defeats FC Dallas, 1-0

SD Loyal SC’s #Team1 played its first match on Sunday February 2nd against MLS side FC Dallas. And Loyal took home the W.

On the perfect pitch of the Chula Vista Elite Athletic Training Center, SD Loyal played their first game, hosting FC Dallas for a pre-season friendly.

The weather was ideal. The grass was pristine. And after a quick warmup and a team photo to mark the historic day, the teams were ready.

Game action & Loyal domination

SD Loyal dominated possession. The FC Dallas keeper was forced to make multiple saves and also watch a few shots buzz just outside his goal. FC Dallas put together a few runs into Loyal’s half. Sal Zizzo and Joe Greenspan snuffed out any Dallas attack before it could take hold. The teams went into halftime 0-0.

Second half breakthrough

The speed and width of Loyal proved too much for the Dallas back line. Loyal’s tricky youngster Yair Jaen consistently blew past his defender on the left side, providing wave after wave of attacking chances for Loyal.

In some deadlocked soccer matches, the team on the back foot finds a lucky break and takes a lead. One quick breakaway or defensive hiccup can change everything. Soccer is unique in that “the better team” who dominates a game can, quite often, find themselves taking home an L.

That didn’t happen.

Midway through the second half, the Loyal attack finally broke through. Francis Atuahene took the ball down the middle of the Dallas defense. He cut to his left, getting around the Dallas center-back, then jabbed the ball to his right with a sneaky unexpected shot. The Dallas keeper got a foot to the shot, but the ball jumped up and sailed into the goal. SD Loyal’s goal scoring account was opened with the first goal in club history.

Atuahene is on the SD Loyal provisional roster at this time. Official roster announcements will continue as the March 7th USL Championship season gets closer.

Game analysis: “Dynamic strikers and good counter attacking abilities”

I asked Shawn Beyer, our own SoccerNation expert scout, what he thought of the game. He told me:

“They played in a 3-5-2 formation.  Dynamic strikers and good counter attacking abilities. They created more goal scoring opportunities than FC Dallas.  It was a really nice piece of individual play by Francis Atuahene to beat the FC Dallas center back 1V1.  Then he had the composure to finish from inside the box.  If he stays healthy could be a big part of the team moving forward.  Energy and effort was really good.  Loyal looked good for only having 12 training sessions.”

“Reason to be optimistic for the Loyal fans,” Beyer added.

Kit update:

“What’s with the plain orange jerseys?” SD Loyal wore training camp gear for this pre-season match against FC Dallas. The official Adidas kits are on lockdown until the big KIT REVEAL on February 13th. Be sure to RSVP for that event. You won’t want to miss it.


all photos by Carey Schumacher, in partnership with SD Loyal and soccerloco