Tabortetaka Preston was part of Lights FC's starting lineup for the first time this season, playing the full match in which he had 2 shots.
PORTLAND, OR - Lights FC can't wait to return home and play in front of their fans at Cashman Field after finishing off a 2 game road trip empty handed, losing their second match away from Las Vegas by a score of 3-1 against Portland Timbers 2.
Las Vegas was down on the score just 10 minutes into the game when Dairo Asprilla's cross got past goalkeeper Thomas Olsen to find Foster Langsforf who scored the first goal of the match to give T2 the lead. "I think we were put in a bad spot early with the goal", said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "It'd be nice to score first in one of these games".
Only 4 minutes later, defender Miguel Palafox pushed down Langsforf in the box and Timbers 2 received a penalty kick opportunity. Langsforf's shot was blocked by Thomas Olsen to avoid quick back to back goals by Portland.
Unfortunately for Lights FC, T2 got another penalty kick when a shoulder to shoulder challenge by Gabe Robinson was whistled for a foul by the referee. This time it was Dairon Asprilla who was in charge of executing the PK and he extended Portland's lead to 2-0 in the 44th minute of play.
Las Vegas went into the halftime break facing their biggest deficit in the Wynalda era, and the modifications came quick in the beginning of the second half with an aggresive approach from Lights FC's technical staff by bringing in Edwin Rivas and Bryan Arguez off the bench within the first 15 minutes of the period. "We wanted to utilize Edwin's speed and Bryan's savvy in the middle of the field", stated Wynalda about his first 2 substitutions.
Just like they did against OKC Energy, a set piece was the way that Lights FC was able to score a goal. Cristhian "Tripa" Hernandez put a cross inside the box off of a free kick, with Gabe Robinson heading the ball past goalkeeper Jake Leeker to cut Portland's lead to 2-1 in the 70th minute.
But they would be down by 2 goals quickly afterwards, with Dairon Asprilla scoring a goal that in 8 months will certainly be in contention for USL Championship's goal of the year. Ryan Sierakowski found Asprilla over the penalty spot, where the Colombia native stopped the ball with his chest to strike it in the air with a bicycle kick that was out of reach from Olsen to seal the 3-1 victory for Timbers 2 in their home opener.
"We played two really good teams back to back with very different styles of play", said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda after the loss. "Getting the opportunity to go home is where my mindset is, it was a tough road trip and I'm glad it's behind us. We'll have an opportunity to finally get our first win at home".
Lights FC has out-shot their opponents in their first 3 regular season matches in 2019, where they have a total of 52 shots taken.
Las Vegas had 3 players unavailable for Saturday's match at Portland: Bryan de la Fuente (injury), Lucas Scaglia (personal reasons) and AlexNyarko Harlley (suspended - disciplinary reasons). Scaglia and Harlley are expected to return for the team's next match.
Lights FC returns to Cashman Field on Saturday, March 30 when they host Real Monarchs SLC at 7:30 p.m. on "Salute to Golden Knights Night", with the team wearing commemorative VGK inspired jerseys. Tickets for this game and all Lights FC 2019 regular season home matches can be purchased at LightsFC.com/Tix or at any La Bonita Supermarket in Las Vegas.