LIVERMORE, Calif. – Oakland Roots SC got goals from Johnny Rodriguez and Jose Hernandez to earn a 2-1 victory against San Diego Loyal SC on Wednesday night at Las Positas College and move above the playoff line in the Pacific Division at the end of the night’s action.
Oakland opened the game in explosive fashion in the sixth minute as a free kick forward from the center circle was headed down to Brian Brown at the top-right edge of the penalty area. The Jamaican forward drove to the byline and clipped a cross to the back post where Rodriguez produced a spectacular bicycle kick into the left corner of the net for his second goal of the season.
The visitors nearly responded in the 17th minute as youngster Chase Boone received the ball 25 yards from goal in the right channel and fired a good shot that had to be tipped over the crossbar by Oakland goalkeeper Paul Blanchette. Then on the half-hour mark Tumi Moshobane also went close but sent his volleyed finish of Miguel Ibarra’s cross from the right wide of the near post.
SD Loyal pulled level in first-half stoppage time, however, as an attack almost broke down before Alejandro Guido’s pass to the right set up for a late-arriving Collin Martin to power home a shot on the half-volley from 25 yards into the right corner of the net.
Roots SC tried to wrest back control early in the second half and Rodriguez had an effort from 10 yards saved well by San Diego goalkeeper Austin Guerrero five minutes after the break, while Callum Montgomery went close for the visitors with a glancing header off a free kick two minutes later. Just past the hour-mark, though, Oakland was awarded a penalty kick as Memo Diaz was brought down in the penalty area. Hernandez stepped up to the spot for the hosts and found the right corner of the net as Guerrero got a hand to the shot but was unable to keep it out.
The visitors tried to respond quickly and in the 66th minute Elijah Martin snapped a near-post shot from the left side of the penalty area that was saved by Blanchette. A minute later Roots SC had a chance to add to its lead, meanwhile, as Mattias Fissore’s curling effort went just wide of the right post, while with 10 minutes to go Lindo Mfeka also had a shot from the top of the penalty area saved.
San Diego had a pair of late chances to try and level as in the final minute of regular time Boone sent a header on target that was saved by Blanchette off a cross by Sal Zizzo from the right. Then with a late roll of the die off a corner kick from the right, Elijah Martin’s header went wide of the left post and proved the final action before the final whistle as Oakland held on for the victory.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jose Hernandez, Oakland Roots SC – Hernandez scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot as part of a solid all-around performance that saw him complete 24 of 32 passes and one key pass and defensively record two interceptions and six recoveries.
OAK – Johnny Rodriguez (Brian Brown) 6’
SD – Collin Martinez (Alejandro Guido) 45+1’
OAK – Jose Hernandez (Penalty Kick) 63’