USL Championship: Fans return at four of six games

Landon Donovan's San Diego Loyal played and won the last USL Championship game before sports was shut down in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it won the league's first game back, beating the defending champion Real Monarchs, 1-0, on Saturday afternoon.

The Loyal, which had beaten the Tacoma Defiance on the road on March 12, remained unbeaten thanks to a first-half goal by Grant Stoneman off a corner kick.

The game was also the first U.S. game to be played before fans as it drew 816 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of Real Salt Lake and the Utah Royals and site of the semifinals and final of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Indy Eleven drew 4,761 fans in 70,000-seat Lucas Oil Stadium for its 2-0 victory over Saint Louis FC on second-half goals from Tyler Pasher and Neveal Hackshaw.

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks limited 1,000 fans to watch at Weidner Field, where they fell to New Mexico United, 2-1, on a late goal by Chris Wehan.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies invited 140 fans to watch their first game back at 7,200-seat Al Lang Stadium, a 2-1 win over Atlanta United II  thanks to a late goal from Leo Fernandes.

The El Paso Locomotive nixed plans to open the gates at Southwest University Park because of the worsening Covid-19 situation in Texas, but both the Locomotive and Phoenix Rising had fans make cardboard cutouts that were placed in the stands.

El Paso beat Rio Grande Valley FC, 1-0, on a goal by Dylan Mares. The Rising, the 2019 regular-season champion, easily disposed of the LA Galaxy II, getting two goals from Solomon Asante in a 4-0 win.

Saturday, July 11
Real Monarchs 0 San Diego 1 (Stoneman 17. Att.: 816.)
Indy Eleven 2 Saint Louis FC 0. (Pasher 52, Hackshaw (79. Att.: 4,761.)
Tampa Bay 2 Atlanta United 2 1. (Mkosana, 61, Fernandes 87; Conway 11. Att.: 140.)
Colorado Springs 1 New Mexico United 2. (Daniels 45+2; Muhammad 25, Wehan 87. Att.: 1,000.)
El Paso 1 Rio Grande Valley FC 0. (Mares 83. Att.: no fans.)
Phoenix 4 LA Galaxy II 0. (Flemmings 9, Bakero pen. 40, Asante 45+2, 81. Att.: no fans.)
Sunday, July 12
Louisville City vs. Pittsburgh, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes)
Monday, July 13
OKC Energy FC vs. FC Tulsa, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Sac Republic FC vs. Tacoma, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN Deportes)

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