The Las Vegas Lights and their llamas pose for a team photo before their 2018 US Open Cup match against FC Tucson. Photo: L.E. Baskow | Las Vegas Lights
Las Vegas Lights FC jumped ahead early and rallied in the second half to win their US Open Cup Second Round fixture against FC Tucson.
In front of a nearly sold-out crowd, Matt Thomas opened the action for Lights FC at UNLV’s Peter Johann Field. The speedy winger blazed up the left side before firing a low cross into the box. Sammy Ochoa attracted the defense and Carlos Alvarez buried the chance. Thomas and Zak Drake provided danger all night, running at defenders from their positions on the wing.
Not long after, Alvarez would again play a part in a Vegas goal. His corner kick was met by Marcelo Alatorre and the veteran defender’s header found the back of the net.
The PDL’s FC Tucson would not turn over despite the deficit. Jason Romero took advantage of a quick counter-attack opportunity and pulled a goal back for the visitors. Right before the break, Tucson would have a strike bounce off the post, nearly a brilliant equalizer.
The Las Vegas Lights celebrate a goal against FC Tucson in the Second Round of the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: L.E. Baskow | Las Vegas Lights
They would find a tying goal after the halftime. This time, Romero set up Adrian Valenzuela for a score.
Unfortunately for the underdogs, the house would win. Sammy Ochoa headed home his first-ever goal for the Lights. FC Tucson nearly leveled things immediately, but Las Vegas’ goalkeeper Ricardo Ferrino stopped a breakaway chance. Ochoa added another goal, tapping the ball past the keeper at the far post.
In a rare play later on, Las Vegas’ goalkeeper Ricardo Ferrino took a free kick from just outside the penalty area. His curling effort struck the crossbar and he hustled all the way back to his goal before any damage was done.
The final scoreline was 4-2 in favor of the USL side. With the win, Lights FC join Reno 1868 FC (who won earlier that same evening) as the first Nevada-based clubs to win US Open Cup games in Modern Era. Last year, two Nevada teams (Anahuac FC, Reno 1868 FC) advanced via penalty kicks, which is officially listed as a draw. The Lights move on to take on PDL side FC Golden State Force next week in the US Open Cup Third Round.