A Light Preview: The show goes on as Lights FC returns to face Loyal SC

After other clubs returned to play over the last couple of weeks, Las Vegas Lights FC have their first match since March tomorrow when they take on San Diego Loyal SC.

Looking at the Lights (0-1-0)

It’s been over four months since Las Vegas Lights FC opened their season with a draw at San Diego Loyal. Since then, the USL Championship was sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technical director and head coach Eric Wynalda was fired, and Frank Yallop has taken over in a caretaker manager role.

Tomorrow, Lights FC will be back in action when they face San Diego again. How different will their shape be under Yallop compared to Wynalda? Yallop’s known for a defensive, possession-based style. That might bode well for the Lights as their strength and depth are on the backline. Also, Yallop taking over for Wynalda likely played a massive part in Raul Mendiola re-joining the club as of yesterday. Wynalda described Mendiola as a “headache before we ever worked together” back in a radio interview with Tyler Bischoff after he didn’t re-sign with the Lights ahead of the 2019 season.

The return of Mendiola is a boost for the Lights as he scored 14 goals and added 11 assists over the last two seasons. Another addition since play was halted is Rashawn Dally, on loan from FC Cincinnati. Both players will add to the attack, but neither is a true striker. With Santiago Echavarria off the roster, there is a lack of an out-and-out number nine. Could Yallop bring Qudus Lawal, his former striker in Fresno, to Las Vegas after the striker left San Diego mutually with Mendiola?

For their matchup with San Diego, the Lights will be facing a side that’s already played twice since the USL returned to play. Yallop’s side will likely try to bunker down on the road, get their legs back, and hold for a result.

Who You Should Know: San Diego Loyal SC (2-1-1)

Francis Atuahene: The forward had two goals on four shots against Tacoma before the halt in play. He leads the club with seven total shots.

Joe Greenspan: After picking up an injury in the opener vs. Las Vegas, the 2019 Defender of the Year is back and made 14 clearances vs. Los Dos last weekend.

Jack Metcalf: The former Liverpool and Wolves youth player has a club-high two assists and 12 crosses from his position at right-back.

The Deets

Tomorrow, 7/25, at 5:00 PM PT

Las Vegas Lights FC at San Diego Loyal SC


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.