LAS VEGAS, NV - For the first time in team history, Lights FC has gone five consecutive games undefeated at home by beating Colorado Springs 3-0, with 7,023 fans in hand at Cashman Field
The visiting Switchbacks FC didn't look like a team that came into the game second-to-last in the Western Conference Standings. They put pressure on Las Vegas, pushing the pace towards their final third generating multiple opportunities that Lights FC's final line was able to take control of.
"In the first half, it was about really hanging in there", stated Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "Colorado Springs, you know, even though they've had a bad run of results, it's quite a team. They caught us off-guard a couple of times and it could have made this game very different. My heart goes out to Steve Trittschuh because they've got some injuries and the team is really on a bad spill. But for us, it was just about staying composed and being disciplined, making sure that we were patient in our attack".
That patience paid off for Las Vegas when they were able to build a clinical attack in the 34th minute with Pablo Cruz setting a deep pass to Junior Sandoval, who then served a cross into the heart of the 18 yard-box that Irvin Raul Parra viciously fired past goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez, who put a hand on the ball but wasn't able to deflect it efficiently.
With the lead, Lights FC started playing with more confidence and that was capitalized on in added time, where Mobi Fehr was found wide open on the right side by Sammy Ochoa and Fehr returned the favor with a magnificent assist to the back post that Ochoa hit with a header into the net, giving Las Vegas a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Irvin Raul Parra's three goals in the last two games have helped Las Vegas jump from 17th place all the way to 5th in the Western Conference standings.
Colorado Springs didn't throw the towel and kept fighting, making this match an interesting one for both squads who had to give their full effort until the final whistle. Thomas Olsen was credited with 3 saves on a total 21 shots by the visiting Switchbacks FC. This was TKO's fifth clean sheet of the 2019 USL Championship season, which has him tied for second best in the league.
Those in attendance at Cashman Field received one more opportunity to jump out of their seats when Irvin Raul Parra was tackled down inside the box and the referee called a foul that gave Las Vegas a penalty kick. Parra took advantage of the shot by scoring his second goal of the game and seventh of the year with Lights FC, giving the team a 3-0 lead in the 76th minute.
"We're all on the same page and you see it on the scoreboard, we just take it day-by-day to get better," said Lights FC forward Sammy Ochoa, who scored his second goal of the season and tenth as a member of the team. "We just have to keep working and enjoying our time, because you never know what's going to happen next, so we keep enjoying our team and hopefully we keep winning and staying strong at home".
Las Vegas opened up an 8-day span where they'll play a total of three games (including US Open Cup action) with a 3-0 victory that propelled them to fifth place in the Western Conference Standings as their point total 10 games into the 2019 season is now 14.
"It's a long road, so it doesn't mean much right now. But it just gives us an idea of where we can be," said Lights FC defender Javan Torre. "3 games in 8 days? It's nothing new to me. When I was in Germany, we called that English week, so it's always fun to play like that and that's why we're here".
Since returning from offseason surgery, Sammy Ochoa has played in five games and scored twice. He has been a starter in the last three.
Lights FC will close their homestand with a second-round matchup of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against Cal FC on Tuesday, May 14 at Cashman Field with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. All tickets for this game are priced at just $10 and are available at LightsFC.com/OpenCup. All kids in attendance ages 5-12 will have the opportunity to participate in the "As Easy As ABC Soccer Clinic" presented by ABC Hyundai. Members of Lights FC's roster will put the kids through different drills from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Las Vegas will return to league play when they visit the defending Western Conference champions Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.