Junior Sandoval was Lights FC's captain for the first time in their road game against Tacoma Defiance.
Las Vegas, NV – Lights FC rapidly shifted their focus on a quick turnaround as they will host RGV FC Toros at Cashman Field this Saturday, June 27th in what is a revenge game after a 5-2 defeat in Edinburg, Texas three months ago.
“That trip to Rio Grande, there were so many things that went wrong. It was so difficult, as a coach, to analyze and figure out what problems we needed to address. It turned out that our mentality was just wrong and when you go into certain places with the wrong mentality you can be on the back end of a really bad game and that’s exactly what happened," said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "Our team is a much better side right now, we’re a different team mentally and on the lineup sheet. I think to go into a game like this at home after we haven’t been home for a while, we’ll be psyched and ready for this."
For the first time this season Lights FC will be playing two USL Championship games in a four-day span and they'll have to get used to it, with Las Vegas having multiple matches in a week twice in August and twice in September.
"You ask players and they will tell you that six to seven days is a long time to wait. Having a quick turnaround like that, as long as you manage the bodies well, is usually what players want," stated Wynalda. "Practice can get a little bit monotonous and I think that the guys will be looking forward to back to back games, getting back on the field, and not a whole lot of time.”
The 2019 USL Championship season schedule had Lights FC wait a total of twenty days between their Fourth of July 2-2 match against L.A. Galaxy II and their 4-1 road trip to Tacoma on Wednesday night. This puts Las Vegas in a position to have games in hand against their Western Conference foes and opens up the opportunity to rise in the standings by racking up positive results.
"The majority of the teams in USL have played at least two more games than us at this point," Wynalda said. "You still have to take care of business, you recognize that if you add six points to our tally right now we’re in fourth place. That’s something to think about but the reality is you still have to go out onto the field, you still have to go play the game and get those points. If you start taking anything for granted you will look back thinking ‘should have, would have, and could have’. We don’t want to do that.”
With their next home victory, Lights FC will match their win total at Cashman Field from 2018.
The Toros are coming off of a three-game homestand that they closed off with a 2-1 win over Sacramento Republic FC, where Wilmer Cabrera opened the score in the first half and Kyle Adams gave them the game-winning goal in the 90th minute.
Gerson Echeverry is in his second season as RGV FC's manager, leading the team to a 13th place finish in 2018 with 38 points.
A total of four goalkeepers have been used by RGV FC this year, led by Nico Corti with 8 starts. Other goalies to have seen action with the Toros this season include Tyler Deric, Michael Nelson, and Ben Willis, all signed with Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer.
Michael Salazar leads Rio Grande Valley with 8 goals but is followed closely by Carlos Small with 7 scores. The Salazar/Small duo combines for nearly half of the 31 goals that the Toros have in the 2019 season.
Trailing only Tacoma Defiance, RGV FC has used the second-most players in USL Championship in 2019 season with 37. The Toros have a hybrid affiliation with MLS side Houston Dynamo.
Lights FC went nine months without losing at home in USL Championship until OKC Energy FC defeated Las Vegas 1-0 on June 29th, 2019. This season at Cashman Field the Lights have outscored their opponents by a combined 22 goals to 7.
Parra is tied for sixth-best in USL Championship's Western Conference with nine goals. The next time he scores he will become the second player in Lights FC history to have double-digit goals in a single season, additionally he will go into a three-way tie with Raul Mendiola and Sammy Ochoa as the top-scorers in team history (10 each).
The Las Vegas-born & raised goalkeeper is tied for fourth-best in USL Championship with seven clean sheets, which is more than double the times (3) Lights FC shutout their opponents in a total of 38 games in 2018. His 51 saves have "TKO" ranked for fifth-best in the Western Conference.
Olsen has shutout five visiting teams at Cashman Field this year while averaging less than one goal allowed per game at home. 'TKO' has conceded only 7 times in the 10 matches Lights FC has played at Cashman in 2019.
The Honduras native joined Lights FC's roster via trade from Memphis 901 FC three months ago. Since then he has played in a total of 12 games, scoring 2 goals and assisting in 3 more. On Wednesday night against Tacoma, Sandoval was the team captain for Las Vegas for the first time.
Mobi Fehr - QUESTIONABLE - Lower Body Injury
Bryan de la Fuente - OUT - Lower Body Injury
Javan Torre - OUT - Suspension
Jesus Gonzalez - OUT - Suspension
Sammy Ochoa - OUT - Suspension
** Lights FC will wear first of its kind jerseys that feature neon-colored vital organs to raise awareness about the importance of becoming an organ donor and how it easy it is to become one online at RegisterMe.org, via the iPhone Health App or at the DMV. On Saturday fans will be able to sign up at the Zappos Tailgate, where members of the Nevada Donor Network will be assisting those interested in becoming registered organ donors.
** The "Summer of Soccer" delivered by Zappos continues at Cashman Field, featuring the lowest-priced tickets in club history! Tickets for the next 4 home matches up to August 24 start at only $10 courtesy of the Terrible Herbst's Ten Buck Tixs, giving everyone in the Valley the opportunity to enjoy Lights FC pro soccer in Downtown Las Vegas.
** Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:30 p.m., start time for all Lights FC home regular-season matches in 2019. For on-site ticket purchase at Cashman Field, both the box office and will call open at 2:00 p.m. on gameday. Tickets are available atLightsFC.com/Tix and at every La Bonita Supermarket in Las Vegas.
** The Zappos Tailgate Party begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Cashman Field plaza, where fans can enjoy beer specials, tailgate games for adults and kids, music, the Zappos llamas Dottie and Dollie, Lights FC merchandise, and much more.
** The Pitchside Pool Party features multiple "swimming pools" located pitchside to bring fans as close to the action as possible. Each pool rental is priced at $50 and can be reserved at LightsFC.com/PoolParty, calling 702-728-GOAL or by visiting the Lights FC Guest Services Booth at Cashman Field on match days.
** Fans in attendance over the age of 21 will have the opportunity to take advantage of new drink specials during the Summer of Soccer. Specially priced $2 Los Altos Tequila shots and $5 Waldo's will be available at all Cashman Field bars. Invented by Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda, a "Waldo" features any flavor of Jarritos (Wynalda's preference is Mandarina & Toronja) and Los Altos Tequila.
** The party doesn't stop at the end of the action on the pitch. After every Lights FC home match, Two Roots Brewing, and Zappos will host the "Happier Hour" post-game party at Cashman Field's Club Level Restaurant. Team players and manager Eric Wynalda will make an appearance at the party that is open to fans of all ages that are in attendance at Cashman Field.
Las Vegas Lights FC fans will be able to follow-up along with every match of the 2019 USL Championship season via national & local media outlets.
Saturday's game (7:30 p.m. kickoff) will be aired locally on MyLVTV with broadcasters Jeff Radcliffe and Tom Traxler announcing the action.
The match will also be aired on ESPN+, while the Spanish-language radio broadcast with Alvaro Puentes & Alejandro Romo on the call can be listened at ESPN Deportes 1460 AM & online on LVSportsNetwork.com.