San Diego Loyal SC, Hoping to Improve on Last Year’s 3rd-Place Finish, Open Season Saturday

USL professional football
Kyle Adams, left, San Diego State Alum, San Diego Loyal SC. Photo: @SanDiegoLoyal via Twitter

San Diego Loyal FC starts in 2022 USL Championship season at 7 p.m. Saturday vs. LA Galaxy II at Torero Stadium.

The team finished third in the Pacific last year and went to the playoffs for the first time, losing to San Antonio FC.

In two recent preparation games, the Loyals lost to Vancouver 1-0 and beat the Tijuana Xolos 3-2.

The Loyals will also play in a modified USL alignment, with the 27 league teams split into two conferences – 14 in the East and 13 in the West. The top seven teams in each conference advance to the playoffs of the USL Championship.

“We are delighted and eager to see the Championship in a traditional two-conference alignment in 2022,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “This form of regular season increases the importance of each match within the conference, while also providing the variety and intrigue of more inter-conference matches.”

Loyal’s new additions include Thomas Amang, who was acquired last month in exchange for Colorado Switchbacks FC for midfielder Haji Abdikadir.

Coach Landon Donovan, who is also the team’s executive vice-president of football operations, called him “a proven scorer with a lot of experience (who) can play in many attacking positions. It is a great addition to our club “.

Amang, 24, spent the 2021 season with the Colorado Springs, playing in 13 games and scoring three goals and one assist in 804 minutes. He started in 10 games as a member of the team’s offensive force. He signed with Molde FK in Norway’s top league at the age of 18 in 2016, then moved to a third tier league in Spain before joining Switchbacks FC.

The team also signed Kyle Vassell from English League One Cheltenham Town FC.

“We were lucky enough to have Kyle train with us last summer and it was immediately clear he was the type of player who could take us to the next level and help us win a league,” Donovan said.

The 28-year-old Vassel played in 16 games with his former team last season, while scoring two goals. The veteran spent more than a decade playing in the English football league system.

He joins Evan Conway, a former USL League One Union Omaha member, and Nick Moon of Indy Eleven as new Loyal strikers.

Other newcomers include Kyle Adams, a defender from the USL Championship Real Monarchs, Nikko Boxall, from the Finnish team SJK in Veikkausliiga, the top football division in Finland, and Koke Vegas, a goalkeeper from Levante UD in La Liga.

The team also signed Andrew Carleton, 21, a player prosecuted by a history of disciplinary matters. Loyal issued a statement this week saying the midfielder “understands the opportunity ahead and acknowledges his past mistakes”.

Other changes for the league include the USL debut of Detroit City FC and Monterey Bay FC, which will participate in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

San Diego Loyal SC, Hoping to Improve on Last Year’s 3rd-Place Finish, Open Season Saturday Source link San Diego Loyal SC, Hoping to Improve on Last Year’s 3rd-Place Finish, Open Season Saturday

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