Irvin Parra leads Lights FC with 7 goals and 3 assists, collaborating in 10 of the 18 goals Las Vegas has scored this season.
Las Vegas, NV – With their focus exclusively on USL Championship action, Lights FC has their sights set on the first chapter of their rivalry series against Reno 1868 FC to take place on Saturday, June 1 at Greater Nevada Field in Reno.
The Silver State Cup kicked off with a 1-1 draw at Cashman Field in Lights FC's first ever regular season home game on March 24, 2018. The next match was played five months later in Reno where 1868 FC got the win 2-1 thanks to a goal in the final seconds of the match from Antoine Hoppenot. The final battle came in September, where Las Vegas overcame being down on the score three times and leveled the match for a 3-3 final. 1868 FC won the inaugural edition of the series, with the difference being Hoppenot last-minute goal in the second of the three matches played.
Las Vegas born and raised goalkeeper Thomas Olsen knows all about what a clash between teams from these two cities means. "It has always been a big rivalry, starting with UNLV and UNR. When I was in high school playing state championships against those Reno teams, it always meant something. It's just another point to prove why Vegas is better than Reno", said Olsen.
For Lights FC this game has state supremacy on the line. But it's also an opportunity for the team to start getting positive results away from Cashman Field, where they're undefeated in 2019 USL Championship matches. "It's very important for us, it would be great if we can get the results that we want on the road", stated Lights FC leading scorer Irvin Parra. "Right now is a key moment to do it because there's a lot of point differential between us and the top spots of the table. With a win this weekend we can jump up to a good place in the standings".
Thomas Olsen didn't allow a goal in 6 of the first 12 USL Championship matches has played in the 2019 season.
SATURDAY’S OPPONENT: RENO 1868 FC
1868 FC has an undefeated record at home this season, with three wins and 2 draws at Greater Nevada Field, including a victory over the Western Conference leaders New Mexico United.
Ian Russell was named the inaugural head coach for Reno, guiding them to the USL Cup playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.
Jamaican striker Brian Brown is the team leader with 7 goals and 4 assists, being involved in 11 of the 20 goals that 1868 FC has scored in the 2019 season. Former Lights FC player Raul Mendiola has 2 goals and an assist in 8 matches played for Reno.
J.T. Marcinkowski and Matt Bersano have split time as the 1868 FC starting goalkeepers. Bersano has the only clean sheet for Reno this season against Colorado Springs, allowing a total of 6 goals in 5 games. While Marcinkowski has conceded 10 scores in 6 matches.
Kevin Garcia Lopez returned after missing 3 games due to a lower-body injury, being a key component for Lights FC both in the back line and attack with his speed and motor.
LIGHTS FC NOTES HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
THOMAS "TKO" OLSEN
The Las Vegas-born & raised goalkeeper is tied for second-best in USL Championship with six clean sheets, which is two more than the number of times Lights FC shutout their opponents in a total of 38 games in 2018. 'TKO' is the only player on the team that has played in every minute of the 2019 regular season.
IRVIN RAUL PARRA
Leads Lights FC with 7 goals, which is tied for fifth-best in USL Championship. Meanwhile, Parra is tied for the team lead with Cristhian “Tripa” Hernandez as both have 3 assists.
Parra is one of only three players in the league that has at least 7 goals AND 3 or more assists. The other two are New Mexico United's Kevaughn Frater and Reno's Brian Brown.
SANDOVAL FITS RIGHT IN
In the six games since he arrived at Lights FC on April 16, Junior Sandoval has been a fixture on the team's Starting XI due to his ability to collaborate both offensively and defensively.
The Honduran scored his first goal with Las Vegas against the Sacramento Republic as he fired a rocket shot from 30 yards out that found the back of the net. It ended up being voted USL Championship's Goal of the Week for week 9.
E-GO RELISHES OPPORTUNITY
Eric Gonzalez made his pro debut in Lights FC's season opener against Austin but afterward went seven straight games without being used by Wynalda on the pitch. When Christian Torres went down with a lower-body injury against L.A. Galaxy II a month ago, E-Go took advantage of the opening in the left back position and has been the starter in it for Las Vegas ever since.
THE RETURN OF KGL
An undisputed starter in Lights FC's lineup since the beginning of the Wynalda era, speedy right back Kevin Garcia Lopez is a player whose speed makes a difference for Lights FC. That's why his absence due to a lower-body injury made the team shuffle their options in that position with three different players during his three games out. With his comeback to the field, also returns the stability for Las Vegas both offensively and defensively with KGL.
Gabe Robinson - QUESTIONABLE - Lower Body Injury
Bryan de la Fuente - OUT - Lower Body Injury
WHERE TO WATCH & LISTEN TO LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC VS. 1868 FC:
Las Vegas Lights FC fans will be able to follow along every match of the 2019 USL Championship season via national & local media outlets.
Saturday's game (7:30 p.m. kickoff) will be broadcasted locally on MyLVTV with BetCast being broadcast from the VSIN studios at the South Point Hotel & Casino. Lights FC Insider Harry Ruiz will handle play by play duties, accompanied by Matthew Holt providing the inside scoop about in-game betting, plus Lights FC on-field hype-man and local radio personality Bojo Ackah.
The match will also be streamed on ESPN+, and the Spanish-language radio broadcast, with Alvaro Puentes & Alejandro Romo, can be listened to on ESPN Deportes 1460 AM & online on LVSportsNetwork.