The Locals led the support for San Diego Loyal SC as it hosted its first game at Tororo Stadium, a 1-0 win against Costa Del Este FC, on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy San Diego Loyal SC
SAN DIEGO – A strong and vocal crowd saw Jack Metcalf’s first-half goal lift San Diego Loyal SC to a 1-0 victory against Panamanian side Costa Del Este FC on Saturday night in the first-year USL Championship side’s first game at its home venue of Torero Stadium.
Metcalf scored late in the first half on a rebound opportunity to give the side another preseason victory, adding to prior wins against FC Dallas and Cal State Fullerton. The biggest story of the night, however, might have been the reception the new club got at its home venue, where it opens the 2020 campaign in two weeks against Las Vegas Lights FC.
“To come out here and see the support like it was tonight, for an exhibition game, it just gets you so excited for March 7th against Vegas,” Metcalf told Cesar Hernandez. “I’m sure it’s going to be sold out.”
The game opened evenly until SD Loyal’s first good chance arrived in the 24th minute when Yair Jaen saw a curling shot turned away by the Costa Del Este goalkeeper. San Diego forward Irvin Parra had an appeal for a penalty kick turned down nine minutes later, but a minute before the halftime break Metcalf struck to put the hosts ahead.
The game saw some of the air taken out of it when Parra was sent off with an hour gone, but SD Loyal was able to see out a clean sheet as goalkeeper Jake Fenlason went the full 90 minutes.
“Without the red card it might have been a little more entertaining in the second half,” SD Loyal Head Coach Landon Donovan told Hernandez, “but I think all in all, people are getting a taste of how good this product is, how good this soccer is and that’ll only get better.”