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RECAP: LIGHTS FC CLOSES 2018 USL SEASON WITH HARD-FOUGHT 1-0 DEFEAT AT SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC

By Ryan Greene, 10/13/18, 10:15PM PDT

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Tough road loss wraps up a memorable first season of professional soccer in Las Vegas, as eyes now turn to 2019.


Lights FC's Sammy Ochoa battles for possession in the club's season finale on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at Sacramento Republic FC. (CREDIT - Sacramento Republic FC)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A symbolic finish for a team that fought through adversity and for every inch throughout 2018, Las Vegas Lights FC closed its inaugural USL season Saturday night with another gritty, hard-fought effort.

The result was a 1-0 defeat at Sacramento Republic FC, as Lights FC once again hung tough with one of the Western Conference's top clubs.

The effort closed a spirited final week of the season, which also included Wednesday's 5-2 upset victory over Phoenix Rising FC, who earned one of the top seeds in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.

"This game was all about honor," said Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sánchez. "In life, you can lose your money, your job, your contract, etc. But you can never lose the honor.

"I'm proud because the players, even though we weren't fighting for the playoffs or the championship, they understood that playing for your honor is the most important thing."

Just as was the case in the first meeting between the two clubs back in April, which resulted in a 1-1 draw at Cashman Field, Lights FC and Sacramento were physical with each other right from go, as the night featured 24 fouls and nine yellow cards.

On the back line for Lights FC, goalkeeper Thomas Olsen was again stout while making his fourth consecutive start to close the season. After registering seven saves on Wednesday night, he stopped five of six shots on target Saturday night. The difference-maker for Sacramento came in the 55th minute, when captain Cameron Iwasa found the back of the net for the home club.

Lights FC battled to the end, with forward Omar Salgado nearly scoring a thrilling equalizer in the 90th minute.

It was another symbolic moment for the club, who hopes its fans appreciated the strong effort all the way across the season's finish line.

"To our fans, two things: First, thank you for believing in us, thanks for the support and I appreciate you being brave with us," Sánchez added. "Second, I'm in debt to them. Big debt. All my life, my parents have taught me that you must pay all of your debts. Be 100% sure that next season, I'll pay them with satisfaction. I promise that."

Lights FC now turns its eyes towards Year Two of professional soccer at Cashman Field in Downtown Las Vegas. Stay tuned throughout the brief offseason for news as it breaks regarding the upcoming 2019 season.

To place a $50 deposit to become a Lights FC Season Ticket Member in 2019, visit LightsFC.com or call 702.728.4625.

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