Pro soccer arrived in Las Vegas on February 2018 and since then fans celebrated a total of 59 Lights FC goals between preseason, regular season and U.S. Open Cup games.
This week we’re going to count down the Top 10 goals that made fans jump out of their seats, set off smoke bombs, make the confetti fly and explode with joy when the ball hit the back of the net.
The first official regular season goal at Cashman Field arrived courtesy of Alex Mendoza.
15 minutes after subbing in for injured teammate Daigo Kobayashi, Mendoza got a shot inside the box and somehow found a way to score despite having 11 players between the ball and the goal.
A powerful James Murphy shot that was deflected by 2 defensive players ended up on this list because Raul Mendiola made a great play out of it.
He stopped the ball with his chest and his fast reflexes allowed him to flick the ball over the goalkeeper to score his 3rd goal on the road against OKC, becoming the first Lights FC player with a hat trick.
Swope Park’s defense wasn’t able to clear a long throw in by Julian Portugal and this was capitalized by Carlos Alvarez, who controlled the ball with his right foot and immediately fired a rocket with his left one to tie up the score in what ended up being a win at home for Las Vegas against a playoff team.
Praised by his teammates as one of the best leaders on the team, Rafael Garcia was a great midseason addition to the roster and his lone goal of the 2018 USL season earned him # 7 on the list. Rafa beat a Fresno player to a loose ball, then he unleashed a strike that was so powerful that the goalkeeper was able to touch … but not avoid it from becoming a go-ahead score for the Lights.
The first goal in team history arrived 1 minute and 9 seconds after the team made their regular season debut. A breakaway that started off with a Zak Drake takeaway, 2 passes later Matt Thomas had the ball and he entered the penalty area to uncork a left foot shot that bounced in front of the goalkeeper before giving Las Vegas its first USL score.
Las Vegas had a dream first half when they hosted the Sounders 2, scoring 3 goals in the first 43 minutes of the game, the last one after a long assist from goalkeeper Angel Alvarez to Joel Huiqui who even though he’s a defender he looked like a skilled forward with the way he netted this incredible goal.
The local standout was an unstoppable force on the left side of the pitch, showing off his speed in this play where he took the ball practically from midfield to the 6-yard box and scored the final goal of a 4-1 win over the Switchbacks FC.
Set pieces in soccer are huge in and teams who can take advantage of them usually end up getting wins, and Vegas got a huge road victory with this free kick from Omar Salgado that ended up in the back of the net. The timing in this play was perfect, Joel Huiqui and Sammy Ochoa blocked the goalkeeper’s view of the ball until the moment Salgado fired a rocket 30 yards out of the goal line to give the Lights a road W & landing Omar in the team’s Top-3 goals of the season.
Was this the best goal of his career? He said “possibly”. Miguel Garduño didn’t want to brag, but his backheel flick that tied the score was spectacular and most certainly was the top contender to be # 1 in this list until ….
At the top of this countdown is the final goal of our inaugural season. Sammy Ochoa made the last memory at Cashman Field for 2018 be a great one, an incredible bicycle kick with which Las Vegas capped off their biggest offensive explosion of the year with a 5-2 win against title contender Phoenix Rising FC.