Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
The opening weekend of the 2023 USL Championship wraps up on Sunday night with a clash between a Rio Grande Valley FC side that has made consecutive postseason appearances and a Las Vegas Lights FC squad with a familiar face back at the helm to start the club’s sixth campaign.
Here’s a look ahead to the action.
Venue: H-E-B Park
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: RGV 60%, LV 15%, Draw 25%
The Lowdown: Rio Grande Valley FC will begin its pursuit of a third consecutive trip to the postseason as it welcomes Las Vegas Lights FC and new signing Erick “Cubo” Torres to start the campaign. The Toros have retained numerous key players from the past season, including former United States international Jose Francisco Torres, but the side could see debuts for new forward Christiano Francois and midfielder Taylor Davila. Las Vegas, meanwhile, will enter with an almost entirely new-look squad this season but the familiar face of Head Coach Isidro Sanchez at the helm. Sanchez returns to Las Vegas, where he led the side in its inaugural season in 2018, and will be aiming for the sort of start Lights FC made that year when it claimed two wins and a draw in its opening three contests. With Torres, Tabort Etaka Preston and Pato Botello Faz leading the attacking line, there should be some good entertainment on display for the visitors.
Rio Grande Valley FC – Christiano Francois: The Haiti international is coming off a difficult season at El Paso Locomotive FC, but his experience and speed on the flanks still makes him a dangerous opponent for Lights FC to monitor.
Las Vegas Lights FC – Erick Torres: The former Mexico international bagged nine goals for Orange County SC last season in the Championship and will be hoping to get out to a strong start with his new club after this week’s unveiling.