A Light Preview: Can Lights FC to go toe-to-toe with Phoenix again?

In a midweek matchup, Las Vegas Lights FC took a point from San Diego Loyal SC in a 1-1 draw. Tonight, they get set to host powerhouse Phoenix Rising FC two weeks after the clubs played to a 3-3 draw at Cashman Field.

Las Vegas Lights FC

Exactly two weeks ago, Las Vegas Lights FC hosted Phoenix Rising FC, who were flying high on a four-match winning streak. Unsurprisingly, Rising FC got out to an early lead before doubling it in the second half. Las Vegas pulled a goal back, but then a Solomon Asante penalty conversion sent the visitors up to 3-1 as the match entered stoppage time. An own goal made things interesting before Ramon Martin Del Campo found an equalizer in the ninth minute of additional time. It was a huge result for the Lights and a major frustration for Phoenix.

Since they last met, Phoenix lost to Reno 1868 FC and the Lights lost a 4-3 shootout vs. Los Dos and drew on Wednesday vs. San Diego. Also, Frank Yallop’s side signed Quincy Amarikwa, who could appear tonight as a much-needed true striker for the Lights. Speaking of strikers, rookie sensation Blake Frischknecht picked up two assists off the bench in the draw vs. Phoenix and I’d expect him to play another big role tonight, potentially replacing Amarikwa in the second half.

The biggest key to success for the Lights may be the health of their backline. On Wednesday, Jordan Murrell and Ramon Martin Del Campo were both out due to injury. That was the second match that Del Campo missed and he is arguably the club’s most important player. The defense did pretty well vs. San Diego, but there is a big difference between Loyal SC’s eight goals and the 29 that Phoenix has scored.

Phoenix Rising FC (6-2-2)

Who you should know

Junior Flemmings: A nominee for USL Championship Player of the Month for August, Flemmings leads the way in the Golden Boot with ten goals. One of those came against the Lights in their last matchup and he created some additional chances for himself and his teammates with excellent pace and dribbling ability, getting into the box or dangerous crossing areas.

Solomon Asante: Reigning League MVP, Asante leads the league in assists and chances created, and is also a nominee for Player of the Month. Solo has six goals to go with that playmaking ability as well.

Rufat Dadashov: The number nine for Phoenix has seven goals and three assists in his first season with the club. He’s a physical presence up top and benefits from the Asante and Flemmings playing wide with their skill and the attention they receive. He scored the opener vs. Las Vegas last time these clubs met.

What you should know

Second-best goal differential in the USL-C (+17).

Most goals scored in the league (29).

Most shots in the league (184), nearly 30 more than second-place Sacramento (156).

Only one win away from home (1-2-2).

The Deets

Tonight, 7:30 PM, Cashman Field

Phoenix Rising FC at Las Vegas Lights FC

Live on ESPN+

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.