A total of 17 players made their Lights FC debut on February 2 against Toronto FC, including 8 players on the team's Starting XI.
Tickets for Saturday’s match at Cashman Field - 2 p.m. special kickoff time - start at just $15 at LightsFC.com/Tix and at all La Bonita Supermarkets in Las Vegas; Fans sharing last name of any U.S. President receives free ticket to President’s Day Weekend match.
CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT LIGHTS FC ROSTER
Las Vegas, NV – The Eric Wynalda era in Lights FC kicked off with a bang. Las Vegas shocked the soccer world as a +700 underdog by defeating 2017 MLS Cup champions & 2018 Concacaf Champions League runners-up Toronto FC 5-1 on February 2 at Cashman Field.
Lights FC looks to keep momentum on their side as they’ll take on Colorado Rapids this Saturday, February 16th at 2pm, closing the 2019 edition of Major League Soccer Spring Training in Las Vegas.
Despite riding high after the victory, the team stays focused on improving day by day. “We feel good, we’re building chemistry and people are starting to understand each other’s tendencies. We have a great group of people and we’re going to do well together”, said defender Panzani Sousa.
With Lights FC facing Colorado Rapids, soccer fans in Las Vegas will be able to watch a fifth different MLS team at Cashman Field since the beginning of Major League Soccer Spring Training in February 2018.
Featured in Colorado’s roster is U.S. Men’s National Team legend Tim Howard, who will retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The opportunity of being across the field from the former Manchester United and Everton player is one that both Vegas Born goalkeepers of Lights FC won’t take for granted.
“Tim (Howard) is like an idol for me, growing up this guy was a big thing in Europe. Every time I get to play against a guy like that, it’s something special for sure,” stated Bishop Gorman graduate Thomas Olsen, who after being drafted by Colorado in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft practiced alongside Howard for 4 months.
Added Rancho High alum Angel Alvarez, “Knowing that we’ll play against who is possibly the best goalkeeper in USA history is extra motivation. Someone who since I was a kid has been an idol, who I’ve followed closely and who has shined with the national team in big games, breaking records. Absolutely, this will be a special game.”
Lights FC has won their five preseason matches (including behind closed-doors controlled scrimmages versus non-MLS clubs) by an aggregate of 24 goals to 5. Players know that this is just the beginning of a long road in 2019, but those who were on the roster last season are already feeling changes in the culture within.
“We know we haven’t won anything yet and we’re focused on Colorado, but we feel encouraged and with enthusiasm both in the locker room and in our practices,” said midfielder Christian Torres. “Way different than last year after we lost our 3 games against MLS teams.” In 21 matches, Torres played 1,554 minutes for Las Vegas in its inaugural season as a USL Championship franchise.
After scoring 4 goals in the 3 matches of Major League Soccer Spring Training 2018, Lights FC surpassed that number in their first match of 2019.
LIGHTS FC NOTES HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
FIRST WIN VS MLS TEAM: Lights FC’s 5-1 victory against Toronto FC marked the first win for Las Vegas against a Major League Soccer opponent. Las Vegas lost the 3 matches played in the 2018 edition of Major League Soccer Spring Training: 2-0 vs Montreal Impact, 3-2 vs Vancouver Whitecaps and 4-2 vs DC United.
ACAPULCO SHINES: His charisma off the field quickly made AlexNyarko Harlley, a.k.a. “Acapulco”, a fan favorite with soccer supporters in Las Vegas. He backed up his flashy persona in his preseason Lights FC debut as he scored the team’s first goal by stealing the ball from Toronto’s goalkeeper Alex Bono and scoring with an open net in the 38th minute of the game.
SUPER SUB: Edwin Rivas didn’t get the start against the team that picked him in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and that eventually released him. He finally stepped onto the pitch in the 55th minute, when he was subbed in for Cristhian Hernandez, and he immediately became a disruptive force with his speed and physicality, scoring a brace by getting the ball to the back of the net in the 67th minute and in aggregate time (90’ + 1).
“DANGER” PARRA: If there’s one guy that opposing teams don’t want him to have the ball, it’s Lights FC forward Irvin Parra. Against Toronto he got the start and played 65 minutes, in which he became a headache for the MLS team by scoring the goal that sent Las Vegas to the halftime break with a 2-0 lead. Every time he touched the ball, the Canadian side felt “danger” coming their way as Parra had a total of 4 shots on goal, with one being his first goal with Las Vegas, 2 of them hitting the posts and the other being a save by goalkeeper Alex Bono.
TRIALISTS IMPRESS: Five players who are on trial with Lights FC received the opportunity to be on the field against Toronto, with Jesus Quintero and Santiago Echavarria (both born in Colombia) shining the most by being involved in the goals that put Lights FC ahead 3-1 and 4-1.
LIGHTS PLAYERS FACING TEAM THAT DRAFTED THEM: Thomas Olsen (50th pick – 2018) and Javan Torre (56th pick – 2016) were both selected by Colorado Rapids in the MLS SuperDraft, but they didn’t sign with the club after being part of their preseason training camp. This Saturday they’ll have additional motivation to lead Lights FC to victory as their opponent will be the team that picked them (and then cut them) in the Major League Soccer draft.
REVAMPED ROSTER: A total of 17 players, 12 of them officially signed through the 2019 season, made their Lights FC debut in the team’s win over Toronto FC 5-1.
LIGHTS FC COMMEMORATE PRESIDENTS DAY: As it is the norm with Lights FC, unique promotions continue to roll out for home matches. The first one for 2019 being the team offering free tickets for fans who share their last name with any U.S. President. Those fans must register at LightsFC.com/Presidents or call 702-728-4625, and on gameday they’ll be able to pick up their free ticket at the box office by presenting a photo identification.
A total of 5,232 fans attended the first game of the Eric Wynalda era with Lights F.C.
HERE IS EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF SATURDAY'S MATCH VS. COLORADO RAPIDS:
Saturday’s match kicks off at a special start time of 2 p.m. For on-site ticket purchase at Cashman Field, both the box office and will call open at 9:00 a.m. on gameday.
Saturday's Zappos Tailgate Party, beginning at noon in the Cashman Field plaza, will feature beer specials, tailgate games for adults and kids, music, the Zappos llamas Dotty and Dolly, Lights FC merchandise, and much more.
WHERE TO LISTEN TO LIGHTS FC VS. COLORADO RAPIDS:
Major League Soccer Soccer Spring Training 2019 games won’t be broadcasted on TV, but the Spanish-language radio broadcast will be available on ESPN Deportes 1460 AM, and can be streamed live at LVSportsNetwork.com.