Lights FC's Daigo Kobayashi battles for possession during the club's 7-2 defeat on the road at LA Galaxy II on Saturday, May 26, 2018 (PHOTO CREDIT: Galaxy II)
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A stout back line has been a strong, consistent feature all season for Las Vegas Lights FC.
Missing arguably its top performer Saturday night, with Miguel Garduño out due to a lower body injury, the Lights FC defense struggled and committed a handful of crucial errors. Most were capitalized on by LA Galaxy II, as four goals from striker Ethan Zubak helped the hosts defend their pitch, handing Lights FC a stinging 7-2 defeat.
During a rough stretch early in its inaugural season, Saturday night marked maybe the toughest loss to swallow yet for Lights FC, who returns home next Saturday night to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at 8 p.m. at Cashman Field.
"Personally, I'm wounded, hurt," Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sánchez said. "In professional football, if you have so many mistakes and you are that far below the opponent, that's what happens. They took perfect advantage of all of our mistakes."
The downfall came after an incredibly promising start, as Lights FC had control of possession and showed the same aggression it has in recent weeks in the opening minutes.
After Daigo Kobayashi's first goal of the season put Lights FC (2-4-4, 10 points) up 1-0 just seven minutes into the match at StubHub Center, the surreal happened.
Galaxy II (2-6-4, 10 points) struck back in a historic way, as Zubak would score three goals by just the 18th minute, marking the fastest Hat Trick recorded in United Soccer League history. A couple of those involved miscues in the back third that significantly decreased the difficulty of the offensive chances.
Lights FC never fully recovered.
Kobayashi punched in his second score of the match in the 22nd minute, this time off of Carlos Alvarez's team-best third assist of the season, trimming the deficit to one goal, and fueling the feeling that the match was set to be a barnburner.
The scoring didn't slow down in the second half, but that only applied to the hosts.
Zubak would add his fourth goal at the 54th minute, and then at the 60th minute, Galaxy II took control for good. That was when a swarm of LA defenders took possession from Juan Jose Calderon at midfield, setting up an advantageous attack ultimately finished up close by Ari Lassiter. He would also score one of Galaxy II's two additional late goals to finish off the 90-minute barrage.
Overall, Galaxy II only needed 16 shots to record its seven goals, as it added three crucial points to its total in the USL Western Conference standings. At the same time, Lights FC missed out on a golden opportunity to earn three points of its own, keeping the club in the lower third of the conference table.
The next chance to kickstart things comes next Saturday in the second meeting of the season with Switchbacks FC, and it will cap what should be an intense week on the training pitch, with more than just a few items to work on.
"We have to focus on everything (this week)," Sánchez said. "When you lose 7-2, it's because you were bad in everything, physically, mentally, tactically and technically."
Tickets for next Saturday's match start at just $15, and can be purchased at LightsFC.com/SingleTix.