Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/El Paso Locomotive FC

Lights FC secure first road win of 2019 in upset over El Paso

Las Vegas Lights FC defeated El Paso Locomotive FC in Texas last night, 1-0.

A week after rolling over New Mexico United at home, Las Vegas Lights FC notched another big win last night when they upset El Paso Locomotive FC, 1-0 in Texas. Preston Tabort Etaka provided the lone goal for Eric Wynalda’s squad.

Key Stats

🔑 One away win. The Lights secured their first victory away from Cashman Field of the season. While I don’t expect them to go unbeaten on the road the rest of the way, this win will give them a starting point to turn around their away form.

🔑 32 clearances. When you’re playing on the road and sitting back defensively, getting the ball out of dangerous areas is vital to your success. Having over 30 clearances shows that the Lights were getting themselves in good defensive positions and had the right mindset of blasting the ball away rather than trying to control it in sub-optimal areas. Christian Torres registered ten of them himself.

🔑 One shot on target. Las Vegas finished with one shot on target…Tabort Etaka’s headed goal. Sometimes, you will only get one chance and it’s all about what you do with it. In last night’s match, one chance was all they needed.

Three Brightest Lights

💡💡💡 Preston Tabort Etaka: His header was all Lights FC needed to get the upset win. It wasn’t the most difficult goal he will score in his career, but it took composure and proper positioning to finish.

💡💡 Thomas Olsen: Another clean sheet for the Las Vegas native, his second on the road and seventh overall this season. He made four saves, including keeping out USL Championship’s May Player of the Month Jerome Kiesewetter.

💡 Dejan Jakovic: In his first away match with the club since arriving on loan from LAFC, the veteran defender helped lead the Lights to a shutout win. He connected on 19/20 passes, tallied one tackle, one interception, and six clearances while conceding zero fouls. Jakovic also won three of his four duels.

Quick Kicks

⚽ With Irvin Parra out again due to suspension, Tabort Etaka continued to show that he can be a focal point in this attack. He has pace, skill on the ball, and good positional awareness on the wing or in the middle.

⚽ Every other road match this season, Eric Wynalda tried to play with a similar mindset to the home matches. While it’s a courageous idea, I wrote before that away from home, you need to pick your spots and bunker down defensively. The USMNT legend showed his willingness to change and adopted a strategy of taking advantage of chances on the break and defend, defend, defend. The club got their first three points on the road in true USL Championship fashion.

⚽ Pablo Cruz is the type of player that can be shut down for a majority of a match but burn you when they get the chance. Finishing with only 14 passes before subbing off, the attacking midfielder found Tabort Etaka perfectly on the free kick goal.

⚽ Junior Sandoval will miss next match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

⚽ Mobi Fehr is such a vital piece when he is playing in his preferred position. After struggling on the backline, he has been back in the midfield in recent matches and leads the club in distribution. Last night, he hit on 94% of his 32 passes, including 88% accuracy in the attacking half. Check out his heat map below.

Courtesy of USLChampionship.com

⚽ For now, the club occupies a playoff position, 8th on the Western Conference table.

Okay, What’s Next?

Las Vegas Lights FC will return home to face OKC Energy FC next Saturday, 6/29. Over their last seven matches, Energy FC have five draws, one win, and one loss. That defeat came last night against Phoenix Rising FC.

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