Las Vegas lights up Toronto FC in their preseason opener

In the opener of 2019 Soccer Spring Training, Las Vegas Lights FC blew out Toronto FC, 5-1.

Saturday afternoon served two purposes for Las Vegas Lights FC. It was an official farewell to Chelis’ disappointing expansion side of 2018 and it was a coming out party for an exciting 2019 roster put together by manager Eric Wynalda. The Lights hosted Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC to kick off their Soccer Spring Training and they dominated 5-1 in front of more than 5,000 of their home fans.

After Toronto controlled the early action, Lights FC started to gather momentum with some close calls, including a shot off the post. Then, Alex Harlley opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Next up, Irvin Parra converted to put the Lights up 2-0 before the half.

Toronto would get one back courtesy of Ryan Telfer in the 64th minute. Las Vegas would score three unanswered goals, one by Bryan Arguez and two from Edwin Rivas, to cap off a 5-1 victory on a cold, rainy day in Las Vegas.

Three Brightest Lights

Irvin Parra: Built more like an NFL linebacker than a soccer player, Parra worked hard to pressure the Toronto backline and was able to score the club’s second goal after forcing a save earlier. He hit the post in the second half.

Alex Harlley: After watching him in training/scrimmage and against Toronto, I’m excited to see Harlley against USL defenses. He has good pace and quality on the ball and buried the afternoon’s opening goal.

Edwin Rivas: A second-half substitute, Rivas scored a brace for the Lights and impressed with his speed up the left wing.

Quick Kicks

⚽ I know Toronto did not have, or play, their best XI or close to it. But, even if this was Toronto FC II, it would have been a big win. The Lights RARELY looked this dangerous in the attack with leaving themselves uncovered defensively last season. Also, last time I checked Alex Bono was in goal…he is their first-choice keeper and has spent time with the USMNT.

⚽ As I tweeted, follow your boy, Gabe Robinson is truly a long throw expert. He was able to get quality deliveries into the box from a pair of throws.

⚽ Kevin Garcia-Lopez is not afraid of sliding in to make tackles in the area. It’s a dangerous game, but each time he did so yesterday, it was a successful tackle.

⚽ Despite playing a club from the league above, Thomas Olsen was not called on a ton in goal for the Lights. He did well to control his area on crosses and he will likely be the deserved primary starter for Las Vegas. Check out our profile on him from earlier this offseason.

⚽ I can’t express how different this club looks compared to last season. Often times in 2018, they had no plan and no discipline defensively. Yesterday, they played with purpose and shut down Toronto attacks throughout the match.

⚽ Speaking of the defense, Javan Torre looks to be a natural leader of the backline. He played well and communicated constantly with his teammates.

⚽ It was an unusually poor day of weather in Las Vegas yesterday. It was raining throughout the match and was cold. Yet, there were still over 5,000 reported fans at Cashman Field, cheering and actively watching the match. Hopefully, the Lights strong performance will convince more fans to come out or even join one of the Lights supporters groups, The Electric Company or Luz y Fuerza.

Okay, What’s Next?

After a weekend off, the Lights will host their second MLS exhibition when Colorado Rapids come to town on February 16th. It will also be a 2 PM kickoff and I’m definitely hoping for warmer weather.

 

Top photo courtesy of Las Vegas Lights FC.

Author

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.