A Light Preview: Friday Night Futbol in Vegas for Lights FC and San Antonio FC

After picking up their first win of the season last weekend, Las Vegas Lights FC will look to make it two straight when they host San Antonio FC tonight.

Las Vegas Lights FC (1-4-0)

Whether it was getting to face a slightly less daunting opponent, playing in front of the home crowd, a young team showing improvement, or the most likely option that it was a combination of the three, Las Vegas Lights FC looked like a completely different team in their home opener vs. Tacoma Defiance. They were able to dictate a lot of the action, push the ball forward, and maybe most surprisingly of all, they expertly limited the chances for Tacoma in the attack. Cal Jennings and Bryce Duke were named to the bench for the USL Championship Team of the Week and the club moved up to 28th from 31st on the latest Power Rankings.

For head coach Steve Cherundolo (who was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame this week), he will want more of the same from his young squad tonight as they take on SAFC at Cashman Field. But, this match will have a new set of challenges. While the Defiance are tied for third-fewest fouls conceded in the USL Championship, San Antonio have the fourth-most and are eighth in the league for yellow cards. They are extremely physical and will try to quickly turn defense into offense, only carrying 41% possession on average. For the young Lights FC players, they will need to move the ball around and not get complacent in possession because the SAFC players will be quick to try to win the ball and get out on the counter-attack.

Eight players are on loan from LAFC in this match. Joining Duke and Jennings are Tomas Romero, Mohamed Traore (who was signed by the MLS side last week), Mamadou Fall, Alvaro Quezada, Christian Torres, and Tony Leone.

Vegas Player SpotLight

Bryce Duke: He’s been a spark plug throughout the season, but he was the best player on the pitch last Saturday. It’s obvious that his ability to set up his teammates and drive the attack forward is a key to success for Lights FC. Against a physical side like San Antonio, Duke will need to be at his best to help dictate the pace for the home team.

San Antonio FC (2-1-3)

Who to Know

Marcus Epps: He has two goals this season and his ability to get in behind the defense or dribble past defenders is crucial to the SAFC counter-attack. The winger has won the most fouls on the team and is tied for third-most shots and second-most chances created.

Jasser Khmiri: One of the key players in San Antonio’s physical approach, the 6’4” defender leads the club in interceptions and aerial duels won. He was not in the matchday squad vs. Colorado Springs last weekend and his return to the starting XI will be something to monitor.

Jordan Perruzza: Back on loan from Toronto FC, Perruzza has made three appearances off the bench and scored in his season debut. Without Santiago Patino available up top, he or Justin Dhillon could be in line to lead the line for SAFC.

What to Know

  • Sixth in the USL Championship in goals scored (ten goals)
  • Eighth in the latest USL-C Power Rankings
  • Have won three of four matches vs. Lights FC (only loss was a 4-2 result in Las Vegas in 2019)
  • Will be without leading scorer Santiago Patino, who is serving the first match of a three-man suspension due to a red card for violent conduct

The Deets

Tonight, 7:30 PM Pacific, Cashman Field

San Antonio FC at Las Vegas Lights FC

Author

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.