Against Austin Bold FC, Mobi Fehr became the seventh Lights FC player with at least 20 starts in the 2019 season.
Colorado Springs, CO -- To keep their hopes alive of making the USL Championship playoffs, Lights FC will have to leave behind the road woes that have haunted them throughout the 2019 season as they'll visit Switchbacks FC on Saturday, September 28.
“Every game matters. If we finish strong, anything can happen," said midfielder Panzani Sousa. “This is the USL and there's a whole bunch of surprises. We need to get 3 points from this game in Colorado Springs and then when we return home it's another must-win game”.
Despite being second-to-last in the Western Conference, Switchbacks FC has given tough teams a run for their money in the last month. Having the lead against Fresno before losing 2-1, being ahead versus Austin in a game that ended tied 1-1, and in their latest match a 2-0 defeat in El Paso where Locomotive FC scored their second goal in the last minute of action.
“The last couple of weeks Colorado Springs has been a very good team. They've been very unfortunate to not pick up points," stated Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "It's a difficult situation over there because it's a team that has kind of lost their confidence along the way, they’ve had a run of bad luck despite playing well, but couldn’t figure out a way to get points. It's a tough place to go play, with the elevation certainly playing a factor in, it should be an entertaining match."
Panzani Sousa has soared into the Las Vegas Starting XI, being featured in it five times in the last 6 games. This after not being in the lineup during the first six months of the season. "Ferrety" has taken advantage of this opportunity, being involved in the last two goals scored by Lights FC in the run of play (assist vs. Fresno, goal @ Austin).
“I just wanted to make a statement,'' said Sousa. "When you get on the field you have to demonstrate what you can do. I have given it all for the Lights, showing that everybody on the bench and on the field is a part of the team.”
After recovering from an ACL tear, Lights FC captain Bryan De La Fuente played in his seventh consecutive match on Sunday night versus Austin.
Over their last six home games, Colorado Springs only has one defeat and it was part of Phoenix Rising FC's record-breaking twenty consecutive victories.
On Monday, Switchbacks FC named Alan Koch as the second manager in team history. Koch is the reigning USL Championship Coach of the Year after leading FC Cincinnati to the best record in the league in 2018, establishing a new USL Championship record with their 23-game undefeated streak. He remained with FC Cincinnati as they moved up to Major League Soccer this year.
Jordan Burt is Switchback FC's leading scorer with 7 goals. Ismaila Jome is the player involved with most scoring plays for Colorado Springs this season, as he has a team-high 5 assists, plus 4 goals scored.
17-year-old Abraham Rodriguez leads the Switchbacks with 14 starts in goal, one of them being in week 4 against Phoenix Rising where he became the second-youngest player to be named USL Championship Player of the Week. He recorded 11 saves in that match, including stopping a penalty kick from veteran Solomon Asante.
Christian Torres is the Lights FC player with most appearances (48), starts (45), and minutes played (3,758) in franchise history.
Panzani Sousa has started five of Lights FC's last six matches, racking up a total of 405 minutes. 'Ferrety' had only seen action in 82 minutes through Lights FC's first 24 games.
Sousa has taken advantage of the opportunity of getting playing time. He served a stellar assist to Tabort Etaka Preston, who scored the game-winning goal against the Foxes. A week later versus Austin Bold FC, 'Ferrety' put the ball in the back of the net with his first goal as a professional soccer player.
Christian Torres was one of only five players from Lights FC's 2018 roster that was re-signed by the team for 2019. He also is the only one that has been a fixture in over half of the games Las Vegas has played in its first 2 years.
Torres is the franchise leader in appearances (48), starts (45), and minutes played (3,758). He is the only player with 20+ games played, and 18 or more starts in both seasons of Lights FC's existence.
On his rookie season as a professional soccer player, Lights FC defender Gabe Robinson leads USL Championship with a total of 155 clearances.
Robinson's performances have earned him a spot in USL's Team of the Week twice this season. First in Week 4 after Las Vegas defeated Real Monarchs 1-0, where he recorded 10 clearances and won the 7 duels he was involved in. Then in Week 23 for his performance in a scoreless draw Las Vegas had in Sacramento, adding 12 clearances, winning 3 of 4 aerial challenges, and completing 14 of 19 passes.
IRVIN RAUL PARRA
Irvin Parra snapped a seven-game scoreless streak by knocking in a penalty kick against Fresno FC in Lights FC's 3-1 win against Fresno, becoming the franchise leading scorer with eleven goals. Surpassing the 10 that both Sammy Ochoa and Raul Mendiola registered with Las Vegas.
Parra currently leads Las Vegas not only in goals but also in assists with six. His 17 combined goals + assists are the most in a season by any Lights FC player. He is one of only seven players in USL Championship with 11 or more goals and 6 or more assists in 2019.
The Las Vegas-born & raised goalkeeper is one of only three goalkeepers in USL Championship's Western Conference that has at least nine clean sheets, which is triple the times (3) Lights FC shutout their opponents in a total of 38 games in 2018. Olsen became the eighth goalkeeper in USL Championship's Western Conference to have at least 9 clean sheets in a season since 2017 (regular season only).
"TKO" is tied for fourth-best in USL Championship with 78 saves, with his performances earning him a pair of USL Championship Team of the Week selections.
IMPROVEMENT FROM YEAR ONE
In the team's inaugural season, Lights FC ended in 15th place product of 31 points in 34 games. With four games left in their 2019 campaign, Las Vegas already has 4 more points than last year's squad, including one more overall victory and two more home wins, plus the defensive improvement is evident with 25 goals less allowed than in 2018.
CASHMAN FIELD RECORD
In its inaugural season, Lights FC had an impressive 110,031 fans in the stands for regular-season matches played in downtown Las Vegas. With two home games left in its 2019 regular season, Las Vegas surpassed that number on September 14 against Fresno, increasing their total this year to 112,474 attendees at Cashman Field.
Santiago Echavarría - OUT - Lower Body Injury
Junior Sandoval - OUT - Lower Body Injury
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 (5:00 p.m. kickoff) will be streamed on ESPN+ with broadcasters Ryan Kaufman, and Roland Vargish announcing the action.