Las Vegas Lights FC can’t keep pace with Phoenix Rising FC in a 5-1 loss

Looking for your first win of the season vs. Phoenix Rising FC is not a recipe for success. Las Vegas Lights FC found that out the hard way last night as they were witnesses to a historic offensive display by Rising FC in a 5-1 defeat. Rufat Dadashov scored a brace while Joe Farrell, Solomon Asante, and Santi Moar tallied the other three goals. Cal Jennings had the lone goal for Lights FC.

Key Stat

41 shots and 20 shots on goal by Phoenix. Last night was truly a legendary performance for Rising FC (and quite the opposite for Las Vegas), setting USL Championship records with those numbers for shots and shots on goal. 28 of those 41 shots came inside the penalty area and that is a recipe for disaster at any level of soccer.

Three Brightest Lights

Cal Jennings: Great individual effort to win the ball from Jon Bakero and convert for the only Las Vegas goal. He finished with five total shots and two chances created.

Roberto Molina: He connected on 2/3 crosses and created a chance playing on the right wing.

Daniel Crisostomo: The former Orange County SC midfielder completed 48 passes, made two tackles, and had two interceptions and three clearances.

Quick Kicks

  • After Tomas Romero started the first two matches of the season in goal, Alex Rando made his professional debut just hours after being announced as a new signing. He’s a product of the University of Virginia and spent time training with Ireland’s Dundalk FC within the last year.
  • Rando conceded five goals, which is never good, but to be fair, he also made 15 saves against one of the best clubs in the league. His defense certainly left him exposed throughout.
  • In other goalkeeping news, Phillip Ejimadu had season-ending surgery and won’t suit up this season. Portsmouth FC loanee Duncan Turnbull, the other goalkeeper included in the initial roster signings, still has not made an appearance and has been available on the bench in all three matches.
  • Mauricio Gutierrez was announced as a new Academy signing before the match and appeared on the bench for the Lights.
  • No matter how you look at it, allowing five goals and 41 shots is a disaster defensively. Last night’s match also continued the troubling trend of conceding in the second half. The club has now conceded ten times in the second half alone this season (only two first-half goals conceded).
  • This season will be about Steve Cherundolo determining how much positive results impact development. The Lights are functioning to improve young players for Major League Soccer’s LAFC, so winning matches isn’t the primary focus. But, how much does it help young players in their growth if they are being blown out every match? The former USMNT player will continue to work through his first season at the helm and as a former defender in his playing days, he’ll want to get his defense squared away.
  • Tactically, it looked like Cherundolo shifted from a 4-3-3 in the first two matches to more of a 5-2-3 with two wing-backs flanking three central defenders (Mohamed Traore and Tony Leone coming down from the first team to join captain CC Uche). Julian Gaines, playing as the right wing-back had a tough match, including fouling in the box to set up Asante’s penalty kick goal.

What’s Next?

While the struggles for Las Dos don’t come as much of a surprise, their opponent next weekend is off to a stunning 0-4-0 start. San Diego Loyal SC will host Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday after suffering a 2-1 defeat vs. Louisville City FC last night.

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.