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LIGHTS FC SUFFERS FIRST USL SETBACK, FALLING 3-1 TO SAN ANTONIO FC

By Ryan Greene, 04/27/18, 11:45PM PDT

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Following hot start to the season, Lights FC falls in front of 8,025 fans at Cashman Field.


Lights FC players battle for possession during action in a 3-1 defeat against San Antonio FC at Cashman Field on Friday, April 27, 2018. (L.E. Baskow / Lights FC)

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There's always tomorrow.

Or, in this case, there's always Monday.

That's when Las Vegas Lights FC will next be back on the pitch with a chance to wash out the taste of its first defeat in its inaugural USL season - a 3-1 setback at the hands of San Antonio FC. The result came in front of another strong crowd of 8,025 fans Friday night at Cashman Field.

Following another extended break early in the schedule, Lights FC (2-1-2, 8 points) in an attacking-minded 4-3-3 formation, playing a risky style against speedy San Antonio FC (2-2-3, 9 points).

But the risk didn't come with much reward early on, as mistakes and turnovers cost Lights FC in one-on-one attacks the visitors created for themselves.

In the 17th minute, Ever Guzmán found the back of the net off of a fantastic feed from Sonny Guadarrama, in a connection between players with lengthy playing backgrounds in Mexico who many Lights FC players were familiar with.

Striking again before the half, this time in the 33rd minute, Jose Escalante did the damage, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead heading into the half.

The Lights FC defense, which has been the club's strong suit so far early on in this campaign, was left vulnerable and paid the price. By trying to move the ball over the top consistently against San Antonio FC and creating four quality touches together before scoring, instead, the Lights FC defenders found themselves in several one-on-one positions against the attack.

"I thought the game would be different, I put the wrong system in," Technical Director Chelís said. "In the second half, we tried to fix it. We were very risky. In any play, they could score, and they scored two times.

"When we win, I have nothing to say. I will always be the responsible one when we lose."

Not long after the break, despite adjustments that saw Lights FC get several quality offensive looks early, San Antonio FC took control for good, as Rafa Castilla got a penalty kick past Ricardo Ferriño following a foul just to the right of the goal in the 51st minute.

Lights FC's lone offensive highlight came when Carlos Alvarez scored his second goal of the season in the 75th minute off of an assist from Jorge Guillen-Torres. The goal for Alvarez came against his former club, having played for San Antonio FC in 2016. The match also marked the Lights FC debut for Guillen-Torres, who returned from an injury suffered before the club's first preseason match.

Despite 23 shots on goal to San Antonio's 13, plus 77 duels won to San Antonio's 51, Chelís was clear in pointing out that statistics can be nothing more than "vanity."

"This game is about scoring and not acting with mistakes in the back," he said. "It's professional football and we need to score."

After plenty of stop-and-go, the club's schedule now picks up in a hurry. The team heads out of town over the weekend for a key Western Conference showdown Monday night with Real Monarchs (4-1-0, 12 points), who will be breaking in a brand new stadium in the process when the match kicks at 6 p.m.

Lights FC will be a bit short-handed for the affair, as well, as the club will be without starting midfielder/defender Christian Torres, who was sent off Friday night with a red card following a tackle at midfield in the 88th minute.

After Monday comes a highly-anticipated party next Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Cashman Field, with Tulsa Roughnecks FC (0-3-2, 2 points) coming to town for a Cinco de Mayo matchup. Tickets for next Saturday's match are available at LightsFC.com/SingleTix, starting at just $15.

The club will begin thinking about everything ahead, and re-establishing its momentum, when the sun comes up.

"It's a bad moment to think about the next game," Chelís said following Friday's match, also apologizing for the club's performance. "Maybe tomorrow when the sun starts, you think about it and other ideas. I don't like to lose. And I don't like that for the fans of Las Vegas Lights FC.

"Tomorrow is a new day."


Lights FC's Carlos Alvarez runs back upfield after scoring in the second half against San Antonio FC at Cashman Field on Friday, April 27, 2018. (L.E. Baskow / Lights FC)