OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland Roots SC goalkeeper Paul Blanchette recorded a five-save shutout to keep San Diego Loyal SC at bay as the California sides played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night at Laney Stadium in the second meeting between the Pacific Division clubs this season.
With both teams looking to build on victories last time out, the contest opened patiently as neither side was able to carve out a clear scoring chance early before Oakland threatened in the 26th minute on a long-range shot by Emrah Klimanta that went just wide of the right post.
The visitors then began to get onto the front foot a little more and on the half-hour mark they carved out their first good look as a cross from the left by Elijah Martin found Augustine Williams for a powerful header to the top-left corner that Oakland goalkeeper Paul Blanchette was able to parry before his defense smuggled the ball to safety. Seven minutes later, Charlie Adams fired a low shot from 25 yards that was also saved, while soon after the midfielder fired again on the volley after a defensive header out of the penalty area only to see his effort curl wide of the right post.
Adams was involved again nine minutes into the second half as he delivered a good free kick that found Josh Yaro cutting toward the top of the six-yard area for a finish that was parried by Blanchette before his defense cleared the rebound. Off a free kick in a similar location a few minutes later, SD Loyal’s Collin Martin tried to catch Blanchette out with a shot to the left corner but the goalkeeper got across and down to save.
San Diego continued to pressure just past the hour-mark as Adams fired from 25 yards that was parried behind by Blanchette, while with 19 minutes to go Oakland’s Johnny Rodriguez tried to find some more of the magic from his last outing with a low shot that was saved by San Diego goalkeeper Austin Guerrero. Oakland had one final chance to grab a winner with two minutes to go as Lindo Mfeka’s corner kick from the left was volleyed over the crossbar by Wal Fall, but the honors ended even as San Diego maintained its distance from the club’s sitting below the playoff line.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Elijah Martin, San Diego Loyal SC – Martin was strong down the left side for the visitors, winning 10 of 10 duels and recording three interceptions defensively while notching a pair of key passes in the attacking end.