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RECAP: LIGHTS FC CLAIMS FOURTH STRAIGHT HOME WIN, KNOCKING OFF RGVFC, 1-0, BEHIND LATE GOAL

By Ryan Greene, 08/04/18, 11:15PM PDT

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Captain Joel Huiqui bangs home late game-winner, Ricardo Ferriño records third clean sheet of 2018 as Lights FC gains ground in playoff race.

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The streak lives on, and it look some late theatrics Saturday night at Cashman Field to make sure it did.

Las Vegas Lights FC claimed its fourth straight home win, knocking off Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, 1-0, thanks to an 82nd minute goal by captain Joel Huiqui.

That, combined with the third clean sheet of 2018 from goalkeeper Ricardo Ferriño, helped Lights FC (7-9-5, 26 points) gain valuable ground in the USL Western Conference playoff race in front of 6,752 fans in Downtown Las Vegas.

"It's very important (to protect home turf)," Ferriño said. "These fans deserve it, we deserve it and we need to make our home a strong place where we take points, and take advantage like we did today."

Though the first three legs of the current home came in June and early July before a lengthy road swing, Lights FC clearly never let any of its Cashman Field momentum slip upon returning.

Against a defensive-minded opponent looking to keep things slowed down, the first half saw just a few scoring chances for each side. When RGVFC got those chances, though, Ferriño was up to the task.

His two most remarkable stops, on a night where he made seven saves, came sandwiched around the halftime break.

Late in the first half, off of a corner kick that sailed across the box, Ferriño got low as RGVFC attempted a low header that ricocheted off of the ground. As the ball came back upwards, Ferriño got his hands on it and deflected it up over the crossbar.

Then, in the opening minutes of the second half, off of a straight away free kick from Pablo Aguilar, Ferriño soared to his left and deflected away a ball headed for the upper corner of the goal.

"It's important for my teammates to feel like they can trust and be secure with me in the back," Ferriño said. "I felt that support from my teammates (tonight)."

As the second half wore on, Lights FC began threatening more and more against a club that hadn't allowed a goal in its previous three matches.

The breakthrough finally came late on a Lights FC specialty - A set piece.

A corner kick was awarded in the 82nd minute, as Omar Salgado lined up an in-swinging kick late in his Cashman Field debut. The ball sailed across the box, where Joel Huiqui went up high over a header to jam his fourth goal of the season inside the post from close range.

Lights FC nearly scored a dagger a few minutes later, but what would have been Raul Mendiola's sixth goal of the season was waved off due to offside.

But it wasn't needed, as the team put together a complete home field performance yet again, and drew a point closer in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot. With the win, Lights FC is now just seven points out of the Top-8 in the conference, with 13 matches left to play - 7 of those coming at home. During the current 4-match home winning streak, Lights FC has also outscored its opponents 10-2.

Just as there was Saturday night, there will be pressure on the club each match from here on out, which encourages Head Coach Isidro Sánchez.

"In stressful games, we have had very good games - And our best performances," Sánchez said. "In order to be a big team, we need to be consistent."

Next up, Lights FC will head back to the Midwest for the second leg of its season series with Saint Louis FC at 5:30 p.m. PT. Lights FC will going for a clean sweep, having defeated Saint Louis at Cashman Field back on July 7, 1-0. While the team is away next Saturday night, the club will host a free poolside Watch Party on the rooftop deck at Plaza Hotel & Casino.

Lights FC will be back home the following Saturday, August 18, as "Saturday Night Lights" at Cashman Field continues against Phoenix Rising FC. It will be "UFC Night" in DTLV, as soon-to-be-announced UFC fighters will be on hand to meet and greet fans at the Zappos Tailgate, and take part in special events throughout the night.

Tickets are available, starting at just $15, at LightsFC.com. For a full rundown of "Saturday Night Lights" promotions and ticket specials throughout the month, visit LightsFC.com/August.


Lights FC players celebrate Joel Huiqui's (#3) 82nd minute goal - The game-winner, as it defeated RGVFC 1-0 on Saturday, August 4, at Cashman Field. (CREDIT: L.E. Baskow / Lights FC)

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