“We began with a good win, we have some new players, we’ve recovered our concepts and there are some important games coming ahead.”
LAS VEGAS (June 12, 2018) — With a commanding offensive performance in a 4-1 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in its last time out, Las Vegas Lights FC earned a result that could potentially shift the momentum of its inaugural USL season.
Now, the goal is clear: Build upon its statement victory from June 2.
After a week away from match action, Lights FC (3-4-4, 13 points) returns to action Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on the road with the first of three 2018 meetings with Phoenix Rising FC (7-3-4, 25 points), who currently sits in third place in the USL Western Conference.
Wednesday’s match will air locally in Las Vegas on myLVTV, and will stream nationwide on the new ESPN+ app.
It also kicks off a crucial 2-match week for Lights FC, who is back at Cashman Field Saturday night at 8 p.m. against Seattle Sounders 2 (3-7-2, 11 points), with tickets available and starting at just $15 at LightsFC.com.
“We began with a good win, we have some new players, we’ve recovered our concepts and there are some important games coming ahead,” Lights FC Technical Director Chelís said. “We will continue to make mistakes, but we will not be the same. Phoenix is a good team and rival to face to see where we are going.”
The addition of some new blood to the roster has in fact helped bolster Lights FC, both in match play and on the training pitch.
Making their debuts as second half subs in the Colorado Springs victory were midfielders Zach Mathers and Raul Mendiola. Both ended up recording assists during a 3-goal offensive charge in that second stanza. Strong, as well, through his first two appearances in USL play for Lights FC is MLS veteran Eric Avila, who has added some electricity down the right sideline for the club.
Also with the club training each day – though not eligible to play until after the July 10 opening of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Summer Transfer Window – are defender Rodrigo Iñigo and striker Daniel Guzmán Jr. This week, the club also added another tall defender, as 6-foot-2 Nico Samayoa came to Las Vegas on loan from MLS club New England Revolution, and is available to play beginning Wednesday in Phoenix.
“When all the guys came in, when I came in, guys (who were here) had to either try to fight back for their spot or maintain their spot,” Mathers said. “Bringing in new guys always makes everybody work harder. I think our practices have shown that. The energy has been really high, and everyone really wants to get back into a playoff spot.”
Earning points in match-ups with clubs such as Phoenix Rising FC certainly wouldn’t hurt in that chase to climb back into the Western Conference’s Top 8.
Powered by an aggressive offensive attack – much like the one Lights FC is striving to deliver consistently – Phoenix has lived up to its billing as one of the top clubs in the Western Conference entering the season. Entering Wednesday’s action, Phoenix leads the 33-team league in goals scored (26) and ranks second in total shots (220). Leading the way individually for the club to this point are Chris Cortez (6 goals) and Solomon Asante (5).
Legendary striker Didier Drogba has four goals this season for Phoenix, but will miss Wednesday’s match while working as a commentator for BBC in Russia during the 2018 World Cup, which begins Thursday.
“They have a very nice, quick attack,” Chelís added. “At the same time, they give a lot of opportunities in the back. So we are figuring this out, how to take out these characteristics, then we’ll take advantage. It will be a very entertaining, very dynamic game. The team that is more accurate in their opportunities is going to win.”
After Saturday’s match, Lights FC will return home next Saturday night, June 2, to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (4-6-2, 14 points) at Cashman Field at 8 p.m. Tickets are currently available and start at just $15 at LightsFC.com/SingleTix.
Photo/Notes and quotes courtesy of the LV Lights FC & USL Soccer