A Light Preview: Las Vegas will hope to end OC’s hot streak

Trailing by two goals late against Phoenix Rising FC, Las Vegas Lights FC battled back to score twice in stoppage time to force a 3-3 draw. Next up, they host Orange County SC tonight, who enter the match on a four-match winning streak.

Looking at the Lights (1-3-2)

With a quick turnaround after a big comeback result vs. Phoenix, Lights FC will hope that some momentum carries over into this Orange County match. One of the big takeaways for the club will be that they can play with anyone in this league, proving that against a high-powered club like Rising FC. Even if they hadn’t scored the equalizer, a closely-contested loss would’ve given them some confidence moving forward.

Yamikani Chester has established that he needs to be a fixture in the starting XI. In back-to-back matches, he’s made an impact in the attack, picking up one assist, one goal, and the shot that led to an own goal vs. Phoenix. Las Vegas caretaker manager Frank Yallop’s task will be finding the best fit to include Chester, Rashawn Dally, Junior Burgos, and Blake Frischknecht together in the starting lineup once Frischknecht is fully fit and ready to go a full 90 minutes.

Orange County has proven to have one of the league’s better defenses, so the Lights will need to keep the pressure on OC, as they did at times against Phoenix. Burgos could prove to be a valuable weapon in this one. He’s shown the ability to strike the ball well from distance with his goal against San Diego back in March and his shot off the crossbar on Saturday. With a tough backline to breakdown, there may be chances for Burgos & Co. to take some shots from further out.

Orange County SC (4-0-2)

Who you should know

Sean “Ugo” Okoli: He leads the club in goals with three and has reminded USL Championship defenses why he was the MVP of this league in 2016. Ugo has double the shots (19) of his closest teammate.

Nathan Smith: The OC left-back is a key part of a solid backline across the board. He has attempted the most tackles and has won the second-most duels on the squad.

Aodhan Quinn: One of the best midfielders in the league, Quinn has two goals and one assist this season. But, his value is focused on controlling the midfield for OC, registering club-highs in interceptions and passes. If the Lights try to work the ball down the middle of the pitch, they’ll gave to go through Quinn.

What you should know

  • Fewest goals conceded in the USL Championship with two through six matches.
  • Second-most clean sheets in the league with four.
  • Four-match winning streak has included wins over four different clubs (Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Dos).
  • #1 in the USL Power Rankings.

The Details

Tonight, 7 PM PT, at Cashman Field

Orange County SC at Las Vegas Lights FC

Live on ESPN Deportes/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.