WHERE TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO LIGHTS FC VS. PHOENIX RISING FC:
- Wednesday's match can be seen nationwide on ESPN3, which is available on the ESPN app with a valid cable subscriber login.
As Las Vegas Lights FC's 2018 home schedule comes full circle on Wednesday night, the club hopes that its season series with Phoenix Rising FC will do the same.
The two teams square off at Cashman Field at 8 p.m. for the third and final time in Lights FC's inaugural USL campaign. While Phoenix is hoping to continue its push for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, the hosts are out to make a late season statement of their own.
Following a sound Phoenix victory in the first meeting on its home pitch on June 13, the two met again at Cashman Field on August 18. Phoenix took a tightly-contested match, and now comes back to Las Vegas with even more on the line.
The match doubles as the USL Game of the Week, and can be seen nationwide on ESPN3.
"They are fast, they are fast, they are fast," Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sánchez said. "In order to stay fast, you have to have space. We need to stay compact against them.
"If they win two games this week, they will be in first place. They have a lot to play for."
On the Lights FC side, it is hoping to give its loyal fanbase a winning feeling on home turf to carry into the brief offseason.
Wednesday will be Fan Appreciation Night at Cashman Field, closing out what has been a memorable 2018 for soccer in DTLV with a bang.
Available Wednesday is the All-You-Can-Drink beer pass. The pass can be purchased for $20 ahead of Wednesday's match, and includes one (1) match ticket and All-You-Can-Drink beer inside the stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. once gates open. For current ticket holders, the pass can be purchased before Wednesday's match for $10, while it is free to Season Ticket Members who have already renewed their seats for the 2019 season.
After the match, all fans are welcomed onto the pitch for an autograph and meet-and-greet session with the entire team.
For full Fan Appreciation Night details, visit LightsFC.com/FanAppreciation.
On the pitch, Sánchez set the focus early this week with his club in the locker room prior to its first training session following Saturday's road match in San Antonio.
"I told them, 'I have four more trainings and two more games just to show you how good you are,'" said Sánchez, whose club has continued to play hard for him to the finish line. "I made all of our players give me one reason 'why?' I told them to answer this question with why you are going to come to these four trainings and two games, and what you will be playing for. Together, we have a big 'why?' So this is very important to us."
Phoenix enters play with a match in-hand on first place Orange County SC, trailing them by three points on the Western Conference table in the chase for the top seed in the postseason.
For Lights FC, the 2018 regular season will conclude Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when it hits the road to take on Sacramento Republic FC.
Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen (yellow) tracks action during his debut against OKC Energy FC at Cashman Field on Saturday, September 29, 2018. (CREDIT: L.E. Baskow / Lights FC)
LIGHTS FC NOTES HEADING INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT:
COMPLETE FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT DETAILS: Wednesday's 8 p.m. match at Cashman Field will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN3 as the USL Game of the Week, and it should also be a memorable night for fans in attendance for Fan Appreciation Night. The final home match of the 2018 season will feature available all-you-can-drink beer for fans who are 21 and older. Available is the $20 Party Pass, which includes a match ticket, plus the all-you-can-drink beer wristband. For current ticket holders for the match, the all-you-can-drink beer wristband can be purchased for just $10, while it is free for 2018 Season Ticket Members who have already renewed their season tickets for 2019. The night will also feature a post-match autograph session on the pitch with the entire team. Tickets for Wednesday night's match vs. Phoenix Rising FC start at just $15. Visit LightsFC.com/FanAppreciation for more details.
SÁNCHEZ IMPRESSED WITH OLSEN: Las Vegas native Thomas Olsen has started each of the club's last two matches in goal, beginning with his pro debut in a 1-0 loss to OKC Energy FC at Cashman Field on Saturday, Sept. 29. In that match, he made several key second half saves to keep Lights FC in the hunt for three points before allowing a tough-luck goal late in the action. Head Coach Isidro Sánchez has not only been impressed with Olsen's demeanor so far in game action, but has been all season long with his approach while not playing, citing the character he's shown both on and off of the pitch.
CLUB LEADERS ENTERING THE FINAL WEEK: In the final week of match play, Raul Mendiola still carries the club lead in goals scored with nine, while Sammy Ochoa's 12th minute score in San Antonio on Saturday gave him seven on the season. Ochoa also leads the team with six assists in 2018. Carlos Alvarez is third on the club with six goals, while checking in in second in assist with four. On the defensive end, Miguel Garduño and Joel Huiqui have been consistent forces for Lights FC, ranking first and second on the club in clearances with 109 and 92, respectively.
DISCIPLINE UPDATES: Lights FC has no players suspended for Wednesday's match due to discipline. However, defender Miguel Garduño enters action one yellow card away from an automatic 1-match accumulation suspension.
INJURY UPDATES: Forward Omar Salgado enters Wednesday's match listed as questionable with an upper body injury.
Lights FC forward Sammy Ochoa attacks during a match at San Antonio FC on Saturday, October 6, 2018. (CREDIT: San Antonio FC)
WHO TO KNOW FOR LIGHTS FC
Forward Raul Mendiola (#40) quickly became a fan favorite with Lights FC as a midseason signee. The former LA Galaxy fixture scored his team-leading 8th and 9th goals of the 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 22, vs. Reno 1868 FC, and can give instant offense whenever the ball touches his feet. Mendiola also recorded an assist on one of the season's most impressive goals - scored by Sammy Ochoa - last Wednesday night. He's proven to be an aggressive, speedy force within the attack, and others are feeding off of his energy and hunger.
Forward Sammy Ochoa (#9) has surged late in the season for Lights FC, with goals in two of the club's last three matches. Known for his ability to hold the ball up front and either score or set teammates up, he is second on the club in 2018 with seven goals, and leads the team with six assists.
Midfielder Carlos Alvarez (#7) continues to be one of Lights FC's consistent performers in both directions, no matter where the coaching staff lines him up within its formations. The former No. 2 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft has six goals and four assists on the season.
Midfielder Rafael Garcia (#25), like Mendiola, is a former LA Galaxy member who has aded a veteran spark and presence for the club as a midseason addition. The 2-time MLS Cup champion has been a regular starter in the midfield since joining Lights FC, and has also brought plenty to the table in terms of igniting the offensive attack.