What A Knight: Lights pick up win #1 in 2019

In their second home match of the season, Las Vegas Lights FC picked up their first win of the 2019 campaign.

With Las Vegas Lights FC honoring the Vegas Golden Knights, Sin City’s soccer club secured their first win of the 2019 USL Championship season. A header from Alex Harlley in the second half secured the 1-0 victory, the first for manager Eric Wynalda.

Key Stats

⚽ One second-half shot on goal. With five total shots on frame for Las Vegas, the lone one in the second half gave the club the decisive goal.

⚽ 11.4% cross accuracy. Rather than move the ball from side to side on the ground, Las Vegas tried to utilize crosses for often. Unfortunately, they only hit on 11.4% of their 35 crosses on the evening.

⚽ Ten clearances. Lights defender Gabe Robinson tallied double-digit clearances by himself. The defense continuously snuffed out any attack by the Monarchs and knocked the ball out of play.

⚽ Three goals. This season, Las Vegas Lights FC have scored three goals. All three have been headers from set pieces.

Three Brightest Lights

💡💡💡 Alex Harlley: After I made bold statements about his attacking greatness in the preseason, the man they call Acapulco finally opened his USL scoring account with a lovely header. He was flying all over the pitch tonight and showcased his pace and skill on the ball playing on the wing.

💡💡 Thomas Olsen: Three saves, one punch, and one clean sheet for Las Vegas’ own shot-stopper.

💡 Tripa: He created three chances on the match, including the assist on Harlley’s goal. Tripa connected on 80% of his 40 passes.

Quick Kicks

⚽ It was a wild night at Cashman Field. Along with an enthusiastic home crowd, there were guest stars aplenty including Fox Sports host Rob Stone, Bark Andre Fleury, the UNLV pom squad, etc. The atmosphere was electric.

⚽ The Golden Knights-themed kits were awesome, especially the gold outline on the numbers. Really quality job from the Lights on this one.

⚽ Despite the win, I still think the club needs a target striker. It would allow them to hold up play and have a central figure that can work as a pivot to get the ball out wide, rather than only being able to play the ball out wide to build the attack.

⚽ Three goals this season all coming from set pieces is good and bad. It shows the club is dangerous on dead ball plays, which is definitely a valuable tool in soccer. But, it also shows they are struggling for chances from the run of play, partially due to the statement in the point above.

⚽ There was a nice little skirmish at the end of the first half. Two Lights players would receive yellow cards, but from my vantage point, the Real Monarchs goalkeeper should have absolutely received one as well.

⚽ Speaking of the end of the first half, Eric Wynalda always does a quick walk-off interview with in-arena host Bojo before he heads to the locker room. This time around, he was agitated and passionate. He ridiculed the opposing team for diving, said he had a team full of men that didn’t need to dive, and that the referees were not doing his club any favors. It was a very out of the ordinary but welcome sight for that honesty in the heat of the battle, over the stadium’s loudspeakers.

Okay, What’s Next?

The club’s first match in April will take them to Texas to face San Antonio FC. Projected to be a solid side before the season, they are still looking for their first win and have suffered back-to-back 1-0 losses.

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.