Lights FC's Carlos Alvarez (right) works around his younger brother - LA Galaxy II's Efrain Alvarez - during a 2-1 loss at Cashman Field on Saturday, September 8, 2018. (CREDIT: L.E. Baskow / Lights FC)
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Statistical dominance in the final box score doesn't always translate to a positive result on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, that was the case for Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday night on an otherwise jovial and festive night at Cashman Field, which included $5,000 in cash raining down for 200 fans to scramble after at halftime.
The end result in front of 8,017 fans - a 2-1 loss to Western Conference rival LA Galaxy II - was a tough one for the club to swallow after one of its most aggressive offensive performances of the 2018 season.
"I know what this team is made of, how much work, time and effort it puts in, how humble the players have been," Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sánchez said afterwards. "I can handle this and more. As the party responsible, I feel a frustration for the players. They've earned more than what is showing.
"We shot 27 times, had 13 crosses, won 55% of the duels - The numbers are in our favor, that's a real thing. But it's still frustrating."
The 27 shots felt like even more for Lights FC (7-14-6, 27 points) on a night where the hosts were constantly on the attack. It also struck first early on, as booming striker Omar Salgado notched his third goal of the season with a shot so hard that it flipped off of the hands of Galaxy II keeper Justin vom Steeg and into the back of the net.
But Galaxy II (9-13-6, 33 points) struck back quickly, capitalizing on a pair of Lights FC defensive mistakes on a night where it was overall solid on the back line. First was a successful penalty kick for Ariel Lassiter in the 21st minute, followed by a 27th minute score from 16-year-old phenom Efrain Alvarez - the younger brother of Lights FC captain Carlos Alvarez.
Lights FC never backed down in the match's final 45 minutes, and had a couple of prime scoring opportunities barely miss. The closest of those was a Carlos Alvarez penalty kick try in the 90th minute, which vom Steeg read perfectly and swallowed up.
If anything, Lights FC showed that despite a rough patch of late, it's going to continue to put forth efforts that resemble those of teams that expect to come out victorious. Such showings will be needed in the season's final full month as the action presses on against tough competition, starting next Sunday at 6 p.m. vs. visiting Portland Timbers 2.
"The only path I know is work and discipline," Sánchez said. "I'll keep doing exactly the same. The work and discipline is the only thing in professional football."
Several unique promotions are still to come in the season's final full month. The schedule will include a pair of exclusive Season Ticket Member parties on Sept. 12 & 18, a Mexican Independence Day fireworks celebration following next Sunday's match and the first Bobblehead Night in club history on Sept. 29, with the first 5,000 fans in attendance receiving a bobblehead of Lights FC mascot “Cash the Soccer Rocker.” For full details on the month ahead, plus to purchase single-match tickets starting at just $15, visit LightsFC.com/September.