Photo courtesy L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Lights FC
LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Lights FC rallied to take a 2-1 victory against the Swope Park Rangers on Saturday night as 7,888 fans witnessed the club’s first home win in its history. The Rangers took the lead in the 18th minute when Rodrigo Saravia drove home from the top of the penalty area, and the visitors looked the more dangerous for most of the first half as they held their lead to the halftime break. Lights FC produced a response to start the second half, however, and tied the game in the 53rd minute as Carlos Alvarez fired home a low shot into the left corner. Las Vegas then took the lead as a miscommunication between Rangers defender Colton Storm and a slip by goalkeeper Eric Dick saw Storm’s header find the net for an own goal, and that proved the difference as Swope Park’s Hadji Barry squandered a chance with 13 minutes to go, shooting over from inside the penalty area to allow Lights FC to hold on for victory.
18’ – SPR – Rodrigo Saravia
53’ – LV – Carlos Alvarez
71’ – LV – Colton Storm (own goal)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Las Vegas had taken the lead in each of its first two games of the regular season to open its inaugural season on a positive note, but in recording a comeback victory against the defending Western Conference champion, Lights FC put in the most impressive display of its young season. After being held without a shot on goal in the first half Lights FC opened the second half with far more urgency and incisiveness, and that pressure led to Carlos Alvarez’s equalizer. Las Vegas caught a break on Colton Storm’s own goal but after gaining the upper hand in terms of the flow of play the hosts more than earned their luck on the night.
2. Swope Park was in complete control at halftime on its way to a third successive win to start the season, but the Rangers could leave Las Vegas feeling they could have created more in the first half to take a more comfortable cushion into the break. After scoring eight goals in their first two games this season the Rangers had good moments in either half but never clicked into high gear on Saturday night, and will need to rebound quickly as it hosts Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night.
3. Carlos Alvarez has been one of the best stories of the early USL season and his first goal for Lights FC only added to his stellar start. Alvarez wasn’t quite as influential on Saturday night as in Las Vegas’ previous outings, but still linked play way when he found the ball in midfield. As with Las Vegas itself, which on the night completed only 51.1 percent of its passes in the attacking half and saw Alvarez’s goal stand as its only official shot on target, there’s still plenty of room to grow for Alvarez, which with the side sitting undefeated through three outings has got to be an exciting thought for Lights FC’s fans.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Joel Huiqui, Las Vegas Lights FC – Huiqui recorded three interceptions and seven clearances while marshaling the Lights FC defense as it held Swope Park to only three shots on goal.
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC – April 14, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field
Swope Park Rangers vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – April 4, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Park