After his performance against Colorado Springs, Irvin Raul Parra is now Lights FC's all-time leading goalscorer and is tied with Sammy Ochoa for the most assists (7) in franchise history.
LAS VEGAS, NV -- Lights FC returns home for a pivotal matchup against a team that is in a position that Las Vegas wants to be in. San Antonio FC currently sits at tenth place in the Western Conference standings, with only three points separating both teams. This escalates the importance of Saturday's game at Cashman Field.
“San Antonio has played better than their record indicates, so we’re fortunate to only have them sitting in the tenth spot," said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "Watching their games against Los Angeles and Phoenix, I thought they were very unlucky not to get any results out of those games. Tulsa was a crazy game that saw seven goals, so there is some vulnerability there, but for the most part I think that they’re still in very good form.”
In order for Lights FC to win this weekend, they’ll be relying on their two best strikers: Irvin Raul Parra and Tabort Etaka Preston, who have combined for 14 goals and 6 assists at home this year. In 2017, current Lights FC forward Irvin Raul Parra became the first player in USL Championship history to record double-digit goals and assists in a season when he played for Seattle Sounders 2 and Orange County SC. After taking 2018 off to be with his family, Parra returned to the league this year with Lights FC and has already broken the franchise scoring record with 13 goals and is tied for the all-time team lead in assists with 7. Another double-double might be on the horizon for the Inglewood native, but he credits his teammates for the success he has achieved in Las Vegas.
"To be honest, I wouldn't have the stats that I have right now if it wasn't for the team," stated Parra. "Everybody on this team has played a part in each one of my goals and each one of my assists as well. The team has always been there for me, and I’ll always be there for them."
Playing their next two games at Cashman Field will be critical for Lights FC in their playoffs push. Eight of the team's ten wins this season have happened in Downtown Las Vegas, and if they add one more this Saturday then they will tie San Antonio who currently holds the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“We’ve been one of the better teams in the league at home,'' said Wynalda. "We love playing for our fans. It has always been the case that we just feel more confident here and we’re always going to go for three points. And in the next two games that will be the case again.”
SATURDAY’S OPPONENT: SAN ANTONIO FC
San Antonio FC is currently tied for the last playoff spot in the USL Championship Western Conference with 41 points, after winning their third straight home game by defeating Fresno FC 2-1.
Coached by Darren Powell, the first and only manager in team history, San Antonio FC has qualified for the playoffs once in their 3 years as a USL Championship franchise. In 2017 they advanced to the Conference Semifinals, while last season they missed out of a postseason spot by 3 points, finishing 9th place in the Western Conference.
Three players are tied for the team lead in goals scored. Cristian Parano, Jack Barmby, and Frank Lopez have 7 goals each. Lopez has a total of 13 goals this season, with 6 of them being scored with L.A. Galaxy II before being traded to San Antonio in mid-July. His last goal with Los Angeles was against Lights FC on July 4th.
Matt Cardone has started in goal for all but one San Antonio FC match this season, being ranked third in USL Championship with 84 saves. If he's in San Antonio FC's Starting XI on Saturday, Cardone will match the 31 times he was on his team's lineup between 2016 and 2018.
With his goal against Switchbacks FC, Tabort Etaka Preston became the fifth player to score at least seven goals in a season for Las Vegas.
LIGHTS FC NOTES HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
PAINT THE PARK PINK
Lights FC will honor Breast Cancer survivors, co-survivors, patients, and their families by hosting Paint The Park Pink Night at Cashman Field on Saturday, October 5. The lines on the field, corner kick flags and nets in goal will be pink. The team will take the pitch wearing a pink patch on their jerseys.
Cancer survivors and those who are currently battling the disease will be invited onto the field athalftime, when the crowd will join them for a “Standing Against Cancer” ceremony in a show of solidarity as we all do our part in finding a cure to this terrible disease.
Upon entering Cashman Field, all fans will be given a pink "I Stand Against Cancer" poster. Fans are encouraged to write the name of a loved one who they would like to "stand against cancer" for. During the halftime presentation, all fans in attendance will be encouraged to stand and raise their posters to show the world that they too stand against cancer.
IMPROVEMENT FROM YEAR ONE
In the team's inaugural season, Lights FC ended in 15th place which was the product of 31 points in 34 games. Las Vegas already has 7 more points than last year's squad, including two overall and home wins. Plus, the defensive improvement is evident with 24 goals less allowed than in 2018.
With three games remaining last year, Lights FC had 10 points less than it currently boasts this season where they are in the hunt for a spot in the USL Championship playoffs.
IRVIN RAUL PARRA
Irvin Parra was involved in all of Lights FC's goals in their 3-1 road victory at Colorado Springs, scoring a brace and serving the assist in the other one. This was his third multi-goal game this season, extending his franchise-record scoring tally to 13. His seven assists are also tied for the all-time team-high.
Parra's 20 combined goals + assists are the most in a season by any Lights FC player. He is one of only four players in USL Championship with at least 13 goals and 7 assists in 2019.
TEAM OF THE WEEK SELECTION
Irvin Raul Parra was selected to USL Championship's Team of the Week for his performance against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, where he scored two goals and served the assist for one. This marked the franchise-record third time that Parra has received the honor, meanwhile it's the eighth time this season that a Lights FC player has been picked to the league's Team of the Week after having seven selections in 2018.
Other members of the Las Vegas roster who have been selected this year include Gabe Robinson (Week 4 & Week 23), Christian Torres (Week 12) Javan Torre (Week 15), and Thomas Olsen (Week 16).
"THE FRESH PRINCE" STRIKES
For the second time this season, Tabort Etaka Preston participated in a pair of Lights FC goals in the same match. He provided Irvin Parra with the assist for the opening goal of the game against Colorado Springs, with Preston extending the lead to 2-0 by putting the ball in the back of the net. He became just the fifth player in team history to score seven goals in a season (joining Irvin Parra, Sammy Ochoa, Raul Mendiola, and Carlos Alvarez).
The "Fresh Prince of Cameroon" is the second-best goalscorer this season for Las Vegas. His speed has been a key component to his game, with three of his goals being created with him taking the ball over 40-yards from the center of the pitch into the opponent's box.
Against Colorado Springs, goalkeeper Adam Hobbs was in the lineup for the third time in Lights FC's last four road games. The Santa Monica native hasn't been able to achieve a clean sheet yet, but Las Vegas remains undefeated when he has gotten the start in goal.
Hobbs tied the team-high in a game this season with 5 saves against Real Monarchs, which Thomas Olsen has recorded four times in 2019. Two of the goals Hobbs has been scored on were in added time during the second half (game-tying score at Real Monarchs, and the goal that avoided the clean sheet for Las Vegas in their win at Colorado Springs).
Cristian Martinez, MLS loanee from Chicago Fire and Panamanian National Team member, served his first assist with Lights FC in the final goal of the 3-1 road victory against Switchbacks FC. Martinez became the tenth player to have both scored and assisted on a goal for Las Vegas this season.
C-Mart became the sixth player with National Team experience to be signed by Lights FC, as he made his Panamanian National Team debut in February 2016 against El Salvador in a friendly match.
On his rookie season as a professional soccer player, defender Gabe Robinson leads USL Championship with a total of 163 clearances, which is a new Lights FC franchise record (Miguel Garduño led Las Vegas in 2018 with 123 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.
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 FC, increasing their total this year to 112,474 attendees at Cashman Field.
Santiago Echavarría - OUT - Lower Body Injury
Junior Sandoval - OUT - Lower Body Injury
Lights FC boasts an undefeated record (1-0-2) in games that Adam Hobbs has been the starting goalkeeper.
** Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:30 p.m., start time for all Lights FC home 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 regular-season gameday. Tickets are available at LightsFC.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.
** Media credential on-site pick-up and entry begins at 4:30 p.m. Credentials can be picked up at Media Check-In, located at the Zappos Gate. For all other media-related inquiries, please visit our Media Center.
** 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.
WHERE TO WATCH & LISTEN TO LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC VS. SAN ANTONIO FC:
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 Deportes Vegas 1460 AM & online on LVSportsNetwork.com.