The story of Las Vegas Lights FC’s second season so far has been the difference between their form at home and on the road. In USL Championship play, they are 4-0-2 at home and 0-6-1 away from Sin City. As the Lights enter a stretch of five in seven matches at home, we look at their numbers at and away from Cashman Field. All stats in this article courtesy of Opta/USLChampionship.com.
You know what goes a long way in dictating how well you play? Your opponent. We break down the combined records of the clubs the Lights have hosted and traveled to play.
HOME opponents combined record: 22-38-18
Austin Bold FC (5-5-3)
Real Monarchs SLC (3-6-3)
Tacoma Defiance (2-10-3)
Sacramento Republic FC (5-5-2)
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (3-8-2)
Tulsa Roughnecks FC (4-4-5)
AWAY opponents combined record: 32-26-31
OKC Energy FC (5-4-4)
Portland Timbers FC 2 (6-2-4)
LA Galaxy II (4-4-6)
RGVFC Toros (4-5-4)
Phoenix Rising FC (5-2-5)
Reno 1868 FC (5-2-5)
San Antonio FC (3-7-3)
As you can see, there is a substantial difference in the quality of the teams they’ve played at home and on the road. If you look at it from a playoff perspective, only one of the six teams that have visited Cashman Field is above the red line (Austin) while five of the seven teams they’ve played on the road are in a playoff position. The two teams they played on the road that are not above the 10th spot (San Antonio FC and RGVFC) are a combined 6-2-5 at home and are struggling this year due to poor form on the road.
What exactly does this mean? In essence, it means the Lights are not as bad as they seem right now on the road, but also, they are not as good at home as their record currently indicates. As more top teams in the conference come to Cashman Field and the Lights face the bottom of the conference teams on the road, their respective records should balance out a bit.
Crucial statistical categories
While a lot of the splits you see below are not massive landslides, every category for the Lights is worse on the road.
Average passing accuracy in the attacking half
Average shots on goal
Average opposing shots on goal
Home: 3 SOG
Away: 5.28 SOG
Despite there not being a massive difference in these categories or any notable ones, the scoring numbers home vs. away are miles apart. At home, Lights FC have scored 13 goals while only conceding two. Away from Cashman Field, they have only scored five times and they have conceded 20. You can look at the club averaging more than one more shot on goal per game at home and allowing more than two more shots on goal per game to their opponents away.
While there are key players like Pablo Cruz and Tripa Hernandez, Irvin Parra sees the biggest difference in production on the road vs. at home. In six matches at Cashman Field, the striker has 32 shots, 13 shots on target, six goals, and three assists. In the seven road fixtures, he has 28 shots, eight shots on target, one goal, and zero assists.
Attendance & Atmosphere
While I do not think this is a massive influence on results, the announced attendance numbers are definitely interesting. At Cashman Field, the average attendance across the six matches so far is 7,592. For the club’s seven away matches, the average has been 4,180. That is a difference of over 3,000 fans average per match!
While clubs like OKC, San Antonio, RGVFC, and Reno all have decent match day experiences, the only truly raucous atmosphere the Lights have faced so far is Phoenix. It will be interesting to see how they fare on the road against New Mexico United and Sacramento Republic FC, number 1 & 3 in the league’s average attendance respectively.