Las Vegas Lights FC stunned at the final whistle last night in Reno.
The second Silver State Cup match between Las Vegas Lights FC and Reno 1868 FC seemed destined to end the same way as the first one. With the score deadlocked at 1-1 in the fourth minute of four minutes of added time, Reno would hit the jackpot. Antoine Hoppenot chipped a shot over Lights goalkeeper Ricardo Ferrino in the dying moments to secure all three points for Las Vegas’ northern Nevada neighbors.
It was also a chipped goal that opened scoring at Greater Nevada Field last night. After Sammy Ochoa’s shot hit the frame of the goal, a long pass sprung Reno’s Brian Brown out on the break and he was able to chip the ball over an on-rushing Ferrino for the 5th minute score. The remainder of the first half was highlighted by poor execution in the final third. Las Vegas couldn’t seem to break down the Reno defense and the hosts squandered opportunities on the break by missing on the final pass.
Early in the second half, Lights FC would get things level. Ochoa was able to cut the ball back into the penalty area to find Carlos Alvarez, who beat JT Marcinkowski. With the score even, Las Vegas pressed for a winner. Eric Avila had a low cross deflected towards the goal, but it was tipped over by the Reno keeper. The ensuing corner from Alvarez found Sammy Ochoa, but his header was saved. His follow-up from point-blank range boomed off the post. Later in the half, Alvarez found Juan Carlos Garcia, but his touch towards goal went wide. Reno’s Duke Lacroix narrowly missed a pair of shots in the second half.
Finally, with no time left on the clock, Hoppenot became the hero for Reno. His first touch lob over Ferrino was a thing of beauty and the first match winner in the Silver State Cup. The Lights will have over a week off before they return to Cashman Field on 9/8 to take on LA Galaxy II. While it should be a fun fixture with Los Dos, most people have this match circled because of the $5,000 cash drop from a helicopter at halftime. Stay tuned for my recap of that craziness and the match itself.