LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Lights FC rallied from an early deficit to earn a 1-1 draw with San Antonio FC on Friday night at Cashman Field as Cal Jennings’ 82nd-minute earned the side a point after Joaquin Varela had put the visitors on top early on.
After taking victory in its last outing, Las Vegas opened brightly again as it pushed forward quickly in possession, but San Antonio opened the scoring in the ninth minute on the first real chance of the game as Emil Cuello’s corner kick from the right found Varela for a first-time finish at the back post that he fired into the right corner of the net. Las Vegas almost hit back six minutes later as Alvaro Quezada cut across the top of the penalty area from the left and fired toward the left corner of the net only to see San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone parry the ball wide for a corner.
The hosts threatened again midway through the first half as Bryce Duke split the defense to find Jennings, who controlled well on the turn to get a look at goal that Cardone appeared to get a touch on to send wide of the left post, but the visitors had the final notable chance of the half on a counterattack from a Las Vegas corner that saw Sam Gleadle set up Justin Dhillon in a 4-on-2 break only for Lights FC’s Daniel Crisostomo to block the shot wide after a long covering run from the San Antonio half.
Las Vegas brought on Roberto Molina to start the second half, and the El Salvadoran almost made a impact within 10 minutes as he curled a shot just wide of the left post from the top of the penalty area. Molina threatened to level for the hosts a few minutes later, too, as he turned past a defender in the right side of the penalty area but had his shot blocked wide by San Antonio’s Axel Sjoberg.
Molina continued to be influential for Lights FC in the attacking third as the half went on, and in the 68th minute he wove into the penalty area on the right before cutting back a pass to Quezada, whose layoff set up Julian Vazquez for a shot from 15 yards that went over the crossbar.
With just under 10 minutes to go the pressure paid off for the hosts as Molina cut inside from the right and was brought down just inside the penalty area, giving Lights FC a chance to convert from the penalty spot. Jennings stepped up and fired low into the left corner to pull the hosts level with eight minutes to go.
San Antonio almost regained the lead immediately as Nathan Fogaca wove into the left side of the penalty area and centered for Jordan Perruzza, whose close range shot on the turn went just wide of the left post. Liam Doyle also had a chance with a header off a corner kick in stoppage time that slid wide of the right post, but honors ended even after a highly entertaining back-and-forth.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Roberto Molina, Las Vegas Lights FC – Molina made a key impact after coming on as a halftime substitute, recording two shots and completing 3 of 5 dribbles before being brought down for the decisive penalty kick for the hosts to level.
SA – Joaquin Varela (Emil Cuello) 9’
LV – Cal Jennings (Penalty Kick) 82’