FULL STATEMENT: HERE
While this event is closed to the public, the Men in Black are still taking the pitch. You can watch the match on USL streaming partner ESPN+.
Fellowship built through struggle and triumph is a hearty one. Bonds like that are not frail, but ones of lifetimes. Tacoma Defiance worked to forge relationships like that on the shores of San Diego this offseason. The week on the beaches of California was more than soccer training – it was the construction of fellowship, teamwork, and loyalty.
It’s fitting that an early opponent for this young Defiance season is one from those very shores of the Pacific. One squad is heavy on nostalgia and the other is heavy on ambition. One team that looks at the sunset of a great career and another looking towards a trophy collection with room for more.
Out of Nowhere, San Diego Loyal
San Diego’s expansion team burst onto the American soccer scene with big names backing the effort. Most notable? Their leader is US National Team Legend Landon Donovan. Donovan is not just an owner. He’s the wide-eyed team’s General Manager and Head Coach.
Donovan built the San Diego Loyal squad with a mix of fringe MLS talent, players that perform well in USL Championship, and a handful of So Cal locals breaking into the professional game. The pull of playing for one of America’s greatest soccer players has an appeal.
San Diego’s squad is expected to launch into the playoff hunt almost immediately. It’s up to Tacoma to defy those expectations and knock the California surf boys off their boards.
No Rest for the Weary
For Defiance, the midweek match comes at home. That’s the easier way to go about playing two matches in short order. Fitness may be a small issue, so some squad rotation will be necessary.
Tacoma needs to take advantage of that by applying the high pressure that worked so well in the first half of the loss to Reno. That press, fully realized, creates the game state that Coach Little wants – aggressive imposition of will upon the other.
San Diego Loyal SC Notes
- San Diego’s first signing was Sal Zizzo. The former Timber came out of retirement to help his hometown start a soccer team.
- Charlie Adams scored the first goal in Loyal’s history. It was his 11th pro goal in eight years. Adams is just 25.
- Last year’s USL Championship Defender of the Year, Joe Greenspan, left San Diego’s opening match at the 34’
- Assistant Coach Carrie Taylor is the only female assistant in the USL Championship
- San Diego took only a single shot in their 1-1 draw.
- Their preview.
Tacoma Defiance Notes
- Chris Hegardt scored the first goal of the 2020 USL Championship season. It was also the Sounders Academy product’s first ever goal in professional competition.
- Seven different Defiance players created a chance on Opening Night.
- In the first 45 minutes, 23 of 54 defensive actions were in the opposing half of play.
- Sam Rogers is training with the US Olympic Qualifying roster, helping his compatriots in their quest for glory.
MultiCare Prematch Health Report
Tacoma Defiance – No injuries reported
San Diego Loyal SC – No injuries reported
How to Watch
For the safety of fans, players and coaches, Tacoma Defiance will play tonight’s match behind closed doors at Cheney Stadium. Tonight’s match is available to stream on ESPN+.
Stadium: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, WA (Tonight’s match is closed to the public)
Kickoff Time: Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 pm.
Home: Tacoma Defiance (0-1-0, -2)
Away: SD Loyal SC (0-0-1, +0)
Streaming: ESPN+: HERE