Photo courtesy L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Lights FC
LAS VEGAS – San Antonio FC hands Las Vegas Lights FC its first defeat of the season with a 3-1 victory before a crowd of 8,025 fans at Cashman Field in the USL Game of the Week on Friday night. San Antonio’s Conor Presley produced the first serious effort at goal in the 14th minute when he fired just wide of the right post from 25 yards, but three minutes later the visitors struck on the counterattack as Ever Guzman put home his first goal of the season. Las Vegas almost responded in the 22nd minute when Sammy Ochoa slid his shot wide of the left post from the right side of the penalty area, but the visitors added to their lead in the 33rd minute as Jose Escalante scored from eight yards after a good run and cross by Darnell King down the right. Ochoa again went close for Lights FC early in the second half but sent his free header off target, and San Antonio soon added to its lead again after Escalante was brought down in the penalty area by Las Vegas’ Joel Huiqui and Rafa Castillo converted from the penalty spot. Las Vegas continued to threaten in attack, and Ochoa had a shot blocked behind after a good piece of control by Jorge Guillen Torres. The hosts got on the board with 15 minutes to go as Carlos Alvarez shot low into the left corner against his former club, but after Las Vegas’ Christian Torres was sent off with two minutes to go to reduce the hosts to 10 men their chances of a dramatic late rally evaporated, allowing SAFC to claim an important road victory.
17’ – SA – Ever Guzman (Sonny Guadarrama)
33’ – SA – Jose Escalante (Darnell King)
51’ – SA – Rafa Castillo (penalty kick)
75’ – LV – Carlos Alvarez (Jorge Guillen Torres)
Three Things That Matter:
1. In a game that produced plenty of entertainment, and its own share of animosity, San Antonio came away with its second win of the season thanks to some clinical finishing that saw the visitors score at crucial moments of the game. With San Antonio ahead after Ever Guzman’s 17th minute goal, Las Vegas produced chances to respond as Sammy Ochoa twice got good looks on goal only to miss the target on both in the 22nd and 48th minute. Each time, San Antonio produced a goal soon after to take a three-goal lead that Lights FC was unable to rally back from.
2. SAFC led the USL in fast-break goals in 2017 as the club’s ability to strike in transition was key to its success. After being held scoreless in back-to-back games coming into Friday night’s contest, that transition offense made a big return as the visitors made Lights FC pay when it got caught with numbers upfield, no more so than on the opening goal which saw SAFC turn defense into attack in a blink through Ever Guzman, who was rewarded with his first goal of the season.
3. Having suffered its first loss of the regular season, Las Vegas will need to shake off its performance as it heads to Utah for a Monday night clash against Real Monarchs SLC that also sees the Monarchs open their new home at Zions Bank Stadium. Lights FC will likely find some solace in the fact that it was able to create openings against SAFC and aim to produce a better final product in attack as it squares off with the Monarchs, but the side will need a much better defensive display to come away with points against the defending USL Regular Season champion.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jose Escalante, San Antonio FC – Escalante scored the second goal on the night and produced a great piece of skill that resulted in a penalty kick as the visitors claimed victory at Cashman Field.
Las Vegas Lights FC at Real Monarchs SLC – April 30, 9 a.m. ET, Zions Bank Stadium
San Antonio FC vs. Fresno FC – May 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field