Louisville, KY–Trey Muse jumped and grabbed on to his crossbar. The San Diego Loyal SC goalkeeper partially pulled his body up the bar as if he was trying to tear down the goal Saturday night.
Muse displayed his frustration. He had just blocked a penalty kick on a diving effort. But his block went right back to the shooter, who didn’t waste the second chance. It was that type of game for Muse and SD Loyal in a 2-1 loss against host Louisville City FC at Lynn Family Stadium.
Cameron Lancaster took the penalty kick in stoppage time of the first half but Muse dove to make the save but the ball ricocheted back to Lancaster. He put the ball into the net after Muse stood up, but the goalkeeper had no chance the second time.
Louisville City FC converted the penalty kick after a questionable call a minute earlier. SD Loyal midfielder Jack Blake was whistled for a foul on Napo Matsoso. Blake and SD Loyal players argued with referee Ismir Pekic that Matsoso was never touched, to no avail. The home side would go into halftime with the lead.
SD Loyal (0-4-0) would leave its first ever trip to the Eastern Time Zone with its fourth-straight road loss. Coach Landon Donovan’s team could not find an attacking rhythm after what appeared to be a fast start to the USL Championship Week 4 match. Instead, it was a set of unexpected plays and misfortunes for SD Loyal.
Louisville City FC (2-0-1, 7 points) scored again on a bazaar play, this time in stoppage time in the second half. Kyle Greig scored in the 88th when he headed a volley in the penalty area. He made a half turn and was able to push the ball past Muse with his leg while facing away from the goal for a 2-0 lead. It added more to SD Loyal and Donovan’s frustration. Donovan was sent off from the sideline with a red card soon after Greig’s score.
SD Loyal answered the second Louisville City FC score with a blast by Jack Blake. The British midfielder fired a right-footed blast from about 25 yards out that hits the same crossbar where Muse hung on earlier in the match, smacked into the Louisville City FC net, also in stoppage time.
“I thought it was just a great game,” Donovan said about the match in front of a nearly full stadium. “Obviously, we’re disappointed to lose and I was proud of the effort, the performance. It wasn’t perfect but I think it was against a very good team, probably the first- or second-best team in the league the last three or four years. It was a really good performance by our guys. Tough to lose that way on two really bad calls in the box at both ends but I was really proud of the way our guys played.”
The late action played in the match was a contrast to the rest of the game. It was mostly Louisville City FC creating the most danger after SD Loyal tried to come out with a fast-attacking game. It began by sending up its lines, creating some opportunities, including a 16th minute shot by Alejandro Guido. The Chula Vista native sent a low but powerful bouncing shot that was saved by a diving Chris Hubbard to his left.
SD Loyal then opted to wait for Louisville City FC in its territory, hoping for counter attacks on a warm and humid Kentucky night. Those opportunities were slim. Muse was the one with more save opportunities as Louisville City FC continued to push up field, ultimately getting a penalty call and an opportune goal by Greig, a second half substitute. Muse finished the match in his return to his hometown with nine saves.
Muse and teammates return to San Diego after ending the four-road game start to the 2021 season. Donovan’s team hosts Las Vegas Lights FC in the home opener Saturday May 29 at Torero Stadium.
“We’ve played four teams now that haven’t lost the game,” Donovan said. “We knew it was going to be difficult all on the road. We knew it was going to be hard. All we can do at this point is recover physically and emotionally. It’s hard to lose four games in a row but our guys are really excited to get back to Torero with fans and their families there and to put on a really good performance for everyone.”
Louisville City FC 2, SD Loyal 1
1-0 (45+) Cameron Lancaster (LOU)
2-0 (88’) Kyle Greig (LOU)
2-1 (90+) Jake Blake (SD)
SD Loyal -16. Trey Muse, 29. Thomas Vancaeyezeele, 23. Hunter Ashworth, 4. Jack Metcalf, 6. Charlie Adams, 7. Jack Blake, 17. Collin Martin (81’- CJ Fodrey), 3. Elijah Martin, 10. Alejandro Guido (68’- 11. Tumi Moshobane), 12. Niki Jackson (68’-21. Corey Hertzog), 9. Ben Spencer (61’ -2. Morgan Hackworth). Coach: Landon Donovan.
Louisville City FC – 1. Chris Hubbard, 7. Napo Matsoso (71’ -Antoine Hoppenot), 15. Pat McMahon, 4. Sean Totsch, 3. Alexis Souahay, 42. Jonathan Gomez, 12. Tyler Gibson, 13. Corben Bone, 36. Paolo DelPiccolo (78’ -Akill Watts), 11. Niall McCabe, 17. Cameron Lancaster. Coach: Danny Cruz