Sunday night the Loyal squared off against SoCal rivals LA Galaxy II. Coming off the recent victory against 2019 USL Champions Real Monarchs there was reason the Loyal could be confident coming into this matchup. However, this was not to be their night as the young Galaxy II side put in a solid performance.
The tempo was set early in the match by Los Dos (as the Galaxy II are known in the footballing community). Loyal were forced to defend early as the midfield was dominated by the sharp Galaxy II side. Jon Kempin made two early saves and must be applauded for his performance on the night.
Despite the early advantage for Los Dos, Loyal Forward Francis Atuehene found himself with a good first half opportunity. Galaxy II Center Back, Jesus Vasquez, turned the ball over near midfield. Atuehene recovered the ball and raced to goal but narrowly missed to the near post. Again, in the 27th minute Atuehene recovered the ball from a Galaxy turnover. This time he stripped Adam Saldana but had his shot blocked by a recovering Jesus Vasquez.
For much of the first half the Loyal were unable to get a foothold in the match and struggled to create meaningful possession in the attacking third. In the 36th minute Jon Kempin made a phenomenal save from Vasquez who had ventured forward for a corner kick. Shortly before the halftime break Atuahene had yet another opportunity as he created an effort with his left foot that came off the post and cleared away.
Loyal halftime adjustments saw some improvement early after the restart. Carlos Alvarez and Collin Martin were brought off as Elijah Martin and the 19 year old Beverly Makangila came on. Despite the improved play it was Loyal goalkeeper who was needed again in the 69th minute on a superb strike from Galaxy substitute Adrian Vera. This was the save of the game and definitely could be added to Kempin’s personal highlight reel.
The Galaxy II started 4 teenagers and would sub on two more. They young team did enough on the night to make John Kempin the busier of the two goalkeepers. Finally, in the 72 minute, Los Dos executed a beautifully worked corner kick. It was team captain, Jesus Vasquez, that scored the game winner. The Loyal moved Joe Greenspan to the Forward position late in the match in attempt to find the equalizer. There proved to be no way back as a good late free kick opportunity was put over the bar by Charlie Adams.
One may argue that had one of the first half opportunities been converted the final result may well have been different. The Galaxy II end up taking all 3 points and gave the Loyal their first defeat. There is no time to sulk on this match as the team is now in preparation for the Saturday match against the Las Vegas Lights on July 25th. The game will be aired on the CW at 7pm.