A Light Preview: Las Vegas Lights FC are desperate for a win as they host Oakland Roots SC

With just one win in their last seven matches, Las Vegas Lights FC are in dire need of a victory tonight when they face Oakland Roots SC at Cashman Field.

Las Vegas Lights FC (5-11-2)

While it may be too late already, now is the time for a sense of urgency from Lights FC. As the season blazes through summer and nears the fall, the LAFC affiliate finds itself seventh out of eight clubs in the Pacific Division (only ahead of Oakland) and nine points below a playoff position. Tonight is a home match against the only club below you on the divisional table. Playing for a draw is no longer acceptable if the goal is to make a playoff push.

On Media Day, I asked head coach Steve Cherundolo about balancing development and results, a challenge every year for MLS affiliate clubs. It’s an important distinction at this point in the season because if development is the focus, the club isn’t likely to put the pedal to the metal and drastically change any tactics to get results. On the other hand, if the club really puts a lot of stock on chasing that playoff dream, we could see a more aggressive brand of soccer from Lights FC.

A big piece to the equation as always will be who is down on loan from LAFC. Two first-team loanees, Danny Musovski and Cal Jennings, combined for the lone goal vs. San Diego Loyal SC. The Lights could really use some defensive reinforcements, complicated by right-backs Erik Duenas suffering a season-ending injury and Julian Gaines signing with the first-team. Las Vegas will hope for a full force loan situation today to secure a result in a very winnable match, something the club has struggled mightily to do this season.

Vegas SpotLight

Alex Rando: The rookie goalkeeper is tied for second-most saves in the USL Championship, often tested behind a young or makeshift backline. He only has one clean sheet to his name and Lights FC could really use a standout performance from Rando tonight in Las Vegas. If he can come up with some big saves and keep Oakland off the board, it would be massive for a club desperate for points.

Oakland Roots SC (2-8-5)

Who You Should Know

Wal Fall: The towering midfielder buried a long-distance free kick vs. New Mexico United for his second goal of the season. With his size and skill, Fall can impact the match in a big way, offensively and defensively.

Akeem Ward: A 2019 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick, Ward is a difference-maker at right-back. He leads the club in interceptions, tackles won, and duels won. Plus, he has the second-most passes on the team and six chances created.

Chuy Enriquez: Playing for his native Bay Area club, Enriquez’s ability on the ball and pace open up things in the attack for Roots SC. He has one goal, one assist, and a team-high 14 chances created.

What You Should Know

  • Played the fewest matches in the USL Championship (15)
  • One win in their last 13 matches, defeated by Lights FC on July 10th
  • 11 goals scored (fewest in the league) in their 15 matches, 24 goals conceded, 51% average possession

The Deets

Tonight, 7:30 PM PT, Cashman Field

Oakland Roots SC at Las Vegas Lights FC

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.