TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Defiance scored twice in the final 20 minutes to take a 3-1 victory against San Diego Loyal SC on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium as Alec Diaz and Danny Robles scored the decisive goals in the club’s first win of the 2021 USL Championship season.
After a quiet opening quarter of the game, San Diego began to gain the upper hand and was denied the opening goal just past the half-hour mark as Ben Spencer was ruled offside as he tapped home a rebound after a low shot by Corey Hertzog from the edge of the penalty area was saved. Spencer went close again 10 minutes before halftime as he headed off the crossbar off a corner by Jack Blake, while Alejandro Guido was denied by a good save from Defiance goalkeeper Christian Herrera soon after.
Spencer again tested Herrera two minutes before the break with a flicked header on target, but it was Tacoma that struck first a minute later to take the lead to the break. A clever back-heeled pass by Azriel Gonzalez found Issa Rayyan in the right side of the penalty area, and his layoff to the top of the penalty area allowed Carlos Anguiano to shoot home into the right corner of the net for his first goal for Tacoma.
San Diego resumed its pressure to start the second half, though, and it paid off in the 51st minute as a long-range effort by Charlie Adams was parried by Herrera only for Jack Metcalf to calmly put home the rebound with a low shot to the left corner as he drove into the penalty area from his full back position.
The Defiance almost regained the lead five minutes later as Eric Kinzner rang the left post with a sharp finish off a cross from the left by Robles. With 17 minutes to go, however, Tacoma struck again as Alex Villanueva was played into space on the left side and delivered an ideal cross to the top of the six-yard area that allowed Diaz to put home a first-time finish for his first goal of the season.
Diaz almost added his second of the night a minute later as Obed Vargas sent a pass over the top for the Puerto Rico international, only for SD Loyal goalkeeper Trey Muse to make a good save to keep his shot out. But Tacoma got its insurance goal in second-half stoppage time as Ray Serrano drove forward on the counterattack before centering to Robles for a simple finish to wrap up all three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Issa Rayyan, Tacoma Defiance – Rayyan recorded the assist on Tacoma’s opening goal and had two key passes overall while defensively winning 7 of 10 duels and 2 of 2 tackles and recording three interceptions and seven recoveries.
TAC – Carlos Anguiano (Issa Rayyan) 44’
SD – Jack Metcalf 51’
TAC – Alec Diaz (Alex Villanueva) 73’
TAC – Danny Robles (Ray Serrano) 90+3’