Las Vegas Lights FC’s improved performance isn’t enough to avoid defeat vs. Republic FC

In their second match of the season, Las Vegas Lights FC looked better than they did in their 5-0 season-opening loss last week. But, it still wasn’t a good enough display as they were defeated by Sacramento Republic FC, 3-1. Dariusz Formella, Tucker Bone, and Jaime Villarreal scored for the hosts while Danny Musovski provided the lone goal for Las Vegas.

Key Stat

20 interceptions, 26 tackles for Sacramento. Playing against a young, inexperienced club, Republic FC used physicality and a sense of urgency defensively to dictate the action vs. Lights FC, also conceding more than double the fouls of Las Vegas (18-8).

Three Brightest Lights

Danny Musovski: The LAFC loanee and Henderson, NV native scored the first goal of the season for Lights FC. He won a foul in the box (one of five fouls he won on the night) and converted the penalty kick.

Daniel Crisostomo: He completed 71/82 passes (86.6% accuracy) and had three interceptions and three tackles. Crisostomo is one of the few players on the roster with USL Championship experience beyond this season and that’s a benefit to this young squad.

Bryce Duke: Just like he was vs. Los Dos, Duke is a difference-maker in the Lights FC midfield with his high work-rate and vision in the final third. He finished with three chances created and a lot of ground covered last night at Heart Health Park.

Quick Kicks

  • USL HQ’s Nicholas Murray tweeted that, according to Analysis Evolved, Las Vegas actually had an edge of xG (expected goals) 1.72 to 1.67.
  • Kwadwo Opoku provided a spark early in the match, but he left before the half with a leg injury. He tallied two shots and one key pass in just under 40 minutes of action.
  • On the opening goal, while it was a great ball from the wing, Nathan Sepulveda has to do a better job of not letting the player he’s marking get that good of positioning.
  • The second goal of the night for Sacramento was a unique story in itself. Chasing a through ball just outside the box, captain CC Uche fell into goalkeeper Tomas Romero, appearing to be pushed by Tucker Bone. Uche was slow to get up and Romero hustled back in front of goal, but the ball was played into Bone, who smashed the ball past Romero.
  • Should a foul have been whistled on Bone for bumping Uche into Romero? Probably. But, there was no call, Bone delivered an unstoppable strike, and the Lights fell behind in frustrating fashion.
  • Jaime Villarreal scored the final goal of the night for Republic FC. His brother, Jose, played for Las Vegas during the 2019 season. He was left absolutely unmarked to waltz into the box and easily put away the insurance goal.
  • Lights FC have a lot of quickness in the midfield and the attack that can flip the action from one side of the pitch to the other in a hurry. If a club goes into a match underestimating Steve Cherundolo’s side at all, they could be in for a long night.
  • On the backend, conceding seven of eight goals this season in the second half is a troubling trend. You’d hope that any adjustments made at the break would help solidify things in the defense, but there have just been some costly lapses from this young backline down the stretch.
  • Phillip Ejimadu and Danny Trejo were listed on the injury report this week for the Lights.

What’s Next?

While LA Galaxy II and Sacramento Republic FC are formidable opponents, Lights FC will be facing a different level of offensive firepower next match as they take on Phoenix Rising FC on 5/22. In their two wins to start the season, Rising FC have scored seven goals while only conceding one.

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.