Aodhan (pronounced Aidan) Quinn lashed an absolute screamer that proved to be the dagger in this Group B encounter. This Southern California matchup saw the Loyal against one of the top teams in all of USL. Orange County Soccer Club are perennial western conference big shots. This was always going to be a big test for the first year team captained by local product and former MLS player Sal Zizzo. This result moves the Loyal record to 3-2-2.
The match started with OCSC with the early chances. It looked to be a 1-0 advantage for OCSC in the 4th minute when Seth Casiple found himself through on goal with just the keeper to beat. Casiple beat the keeper but not the post. The ball rebounded and was put out of danger. This seemed to be a wake up call as the remainder of the half the Loyal were the dominant side. Similar to past matches the quality needed in the final third was missing. In the 14th minute the proactive Jack Metcalf put a dangerous cross in from the right wing that Tumi Moshobani headed on frame. The OCSC keeper was equal to the task. Again in the 22nd minute Carols Alvarez had his well struck volley saved.
It proved to be that kind of night as chances came and chances went. Loyal were able to keep possession in the attacking half but couldn’t conjure up the final product. Tumi Moshibane had an opportunity where he was in on goal and just couldn’t get his feet set to finish on frame. He often drops deep to receive and then runs at the defense. The South African is one to watch. The Loyal had 10 shots forcing 3 saves going into halftime. They may have felt they deserved a lead. However, the pedigree of OCSC and the success they have had over the recent seasons would become evident. OCSC Coach Braeden Cloutier made halftime adjustments and saw the game shift as OCSC brought on Daniel Crisostomo to join SD native Aodhan Quinn in the heart midfield. The Loyal didn’t stop their push to get the games first goal. But as so often is the case in the game of football there was a sucker punch to come. The opportunistic Sean Okoli pounced on a misplaced header and got behind the Loyal backline. He cut back onto his right foot and buried the finish to claim the lead. It was a pivotal moment in the match.
The Loyal kept pushing and earned 10 corner kicks in the match, creating 22 shots and forcing 7 saves from the OCSC goalkeeper. The dagger came in the 88th minute when Oadhan Quinn hit his highlight reel shot from outside the box. Loyal keeper Jake Fenlanson had no chance on this laser beam.
This Loyal team is growing and there are signs of progress. The buildup play created opportunities that they will need to be converted if they are to maintain there number 2 position in the Group B standings. The spirit and effort on display is apparent. They are not timid in their play and are gaining a lot of experience. The product now is commendable and there is reason to believe they can become a playoff contender. Keep in mind, the expansion SD Loyal team is up against some USL stalwarts in Group B. To this point, the Loyal have scored the same amount of goals as they have conceded. Growing pains are something all teams go through and now they must turn their attention toward a difficult match away to last years Western Conference champion Phoenix Rising.