In their first rivalry match of the season, Lights FC got rocked by 1868 FC.
Following an upset loss on Wednesday in the US Open Cup, last night was going to be a big match to see if Las Vegas Lights FC could turn things around as they returned to USL Championship play. Instead, they were blown out on the road by rival Reno 1868 FC, 4-0. We look back at the first 2019 match in the Silver State Cup.
🔑 13 shots inside the box. Reno was able to fire 22 shots total, with 13 of those coming inside the penalty area. This shows how the Lights gave them too much space and time in the area at Greater Nevada Field.
🔑 44% possession. Typically, win or lose, the Lights have held an edge in possession but not last night. Reno took the action to them and controlled the pace, a key that 1868 FC Head Coach Ian Russell mentioned in his halftime walk-off interview.
🔑 13 interceptions. Another stat that showcased Reno’s ability to control the action was their 13 interceptions. They were aggressive in the passing lanes and did well to not allow Lights FC to get into a rhythm.
Three Brightest Lights
💡💡💡 Mobi Fehr: Despite the club trailing in possession, Fehr was the player that did best to establish tempo for Lights FC. He finished with 93% accuracy (91% in the attacking half) on 54 passes and created two chances.
💡💡 Preston Tabort Etaka: Subbing on early in the second half, the young Cameroonian brought energy and danger to the Las Vegas attack with his pace and aggressiveness. He had two shots within his first few minutes on the pitch, including an effort that went just wide of the post.
💡 Irvin Parra: While the Reno defense did well to limit Parra’s impact, the forward still finished with four shots, one chance created, and won three fouls.
⚽ I can absolutely respect the confidence of Eric Wynalda for trying to have his team play the same on the road as they do at home and not wanting to play for a draw. But, if we’re being honest, taking one point on the road sometimes is better than taking zero nearly every time. They have one road draw and six losses. I understand his mindset, but you have to be realistic about your situation at some point.
⚽ Jose Villarreal will be a positive addition for the Lights as the season goes on. Still not fully fit, he was able to register three shots in his first start for the club.
⚽ I won’t lie, Pablo Cruz’s dive tricked me when it happened live. But, he absolutely deserved a yellow for simulation in the box.
⚽ Speaking of Pablito, as is typically true in a loss, he only finished with 24 passes and didn’t see enough of the ball. He nearly pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute, but his shot was saved off the line by a Reno defender.
⚽ A little revenge for former Lights man Raul Mendiola last night. After Wynalda stated in a December radio interview with Tyler Bischoff that Mendiola was “a headache before we even had a chance to work together”, the 25-year-old scored a goal and created three chances vs. his former club.
⚽ This match reminded me how much I dislike the name of the rivalry. Silver State Cup is way too generic and boring for a Nevada rivalry. The Gamblers’ Cup was a much better option in the name finalists, but to me, Casino Clasico was a no-brainer.
Okay, What’s Next?
The best possible news for the Lights. They will return home for back to back matches. First, they host Orange County SC, who was also defeated by Orange County FC in the US Open Cup. OCSC is unbeaten in their last six USL Championship matches including a 2-1 win over RGVFC last night. They will be without star midfielder Aodhan Quinn after he picked up a red card against the Toros.