LAS VEGAS – A two-goal night from Cal Jennings led Las Vegas Lights FC to a 3-1 victory against Orange County SC on Tuesday night at Cashman Field as brothers Brian Iloski for OCSC and Eric Iloski for Las Vegas each found the net in a result that saw Lights FC move back into the playoff positions in the USL Championship’s Pacific Division.
Looking to turn the tables from the first meeting between the sides this season, Las Vegas had a chance to gain an early lead when Danny Musovski was brought down in the penalty area by an Orange County defender. The Nevada native stepped up to the spot himself, but OCSC goalkeeper Abraham Romero showed patience in not committing early and saved the shot just to the right of center to keep the game scoreless.
There was little Romero could do as Lights FC took the lead in the 18th minute, however, as Musovski held up possession and the top-left edge of the penalty area before turning and releasing Roberto Molina into space outside for a low cross that Jennings clipped home at the near post.
Orange County took longer to settle but began to apply pressure on the hosts around the half-hour mark first as Chris Wehan was played in on a ball over the top by Tommy McCabe that resulted in a good save by Lights FC goalkeeper Alex Rando to turn the ball wide for a corner kick. Two minutes later the visitors threatened again as first Rob Kiernan had a header off a corner turned onto the crossbar by Rando before Kobi Henry also hit the woodwork with a rebound chance before the ball deflected behind off Rando for another set piece.
Las Vegas also hit the crossbar 10 minutes before halftime as Musovski was played into the penalty area by a lifted pass by Frank Daroma, controlled well on his chest and tried to send his finish past the advancing Romero, only to see his looping effort clip the bar and go away to safety. Four minutes later Orange County leveled as Brent Richards was played into the right side of the penalty area before he cut back a pass to Brian Iloski, who fired into the right corner of the net to make it all square at the halftime break.
The visitors came out brightly to start the second half and Lights FC defender CC Uche made a timely intervention five minutes after the break to keep Haitian international Ronaldo Damus as he tried for find the net off a cross from the left by Iloski. Las Vegas then twice went close through Jennings, who first fired a shot just wide of the left post after making a good run into the penalty area and was soon after denied by a low save from Romero after the hosts had turned possession over inside the Orange County half.
With 10 minutes to go, however, Jennings bagged his second of the night to put Las Vegas back ahead. After Mexico U-20 international Bruce El Mesmari tried to find space to cross on the right, the ball caromed off a defender to Eric Iloski, who tried to clip the ball toward goal. A defender stepped across to block, but sent the ball in the direction of Jennings, who controlled with his back to goal and contorted to twist a shot into the right corner of the net for his sixth of the season.
Lights FC then put the game away in the final minute as Eric Iloski scored his first professional goal, stealing possession off Romero after the Orange County goalkeeper had come outside his penalty area to try and intercept a ball forward from the back before rolling a finish into the open net.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Cal Jennings, Las Vegas Lights FC – Jennings notched two goals including the game-winner on six shots overall and won 5 of 10 duels in leading the attacking line for the hosts in an important victory on home turf.
LV – Cal Jennings (Roberto Molina) 18’
OC – Brian Iloski (Brent Richards) 39’
LV – Cal Jennings 80’
LV – Eric Iloski 90’