In 2017, it was announced a USL soccer team would arrive in Las Vegas. Since then, they became Las Vegas Lights FC. The eccentric Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, better known as El Chelís, was the head coach during the preseason and was announced as technical director this week. He’s managed in the top two divisions of Liga MX and you may recognize him from his brief stint with Chivas USA. His son, Isidro Sanchez, was promoted to head coach. The club has promised to be unique and push the limits, to represent the city.
Their 2018 kits certainly do that with the neon color scheme and emoji under the chest. Unfortunately, the club’s play in the preseason wasn’t as exciting. The first year of Soccer Spring Training brought the Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and D.C. United to Las Vegas’ Cashman Field. Lights FC went 0-3 in those contests and often looked stagnant in the attack and incredibly vulnerable to counterattacks.
The club secured one point from the preseason when they finished level with Orange County SC. Lights FC kicks off their inaugural season at fellow expansion side Fresno Foxes FC on Saturday night.
Players to Watch
Isaac Diaz: The diminutive winger is great on the ball and was eye-catching during the preseason matches and open training.
Freddy Adu: Once dubbed the next Pelé, Adu is making another stop in his long and winding soccer career. He does not have the speed, balance, or other physical traits that he once did, but he can provide veteran leadership and occasional late minutes.
Sammy Ochoa: He’s been a proven goalscorer in the league with Tulsa Roughnecks and Sacramento Republic. His scoring will be crucial to the Lights’ success.
Daigo Kobayashi: An MLS veteran, Kobayashi will try to distribute the ball from the backline to the attack. He was a positive performer in the preseason.
Joel Huiqui: The defender has experience with the Mexican national team and will provide leadership on a backline that will need it.
Based on the club’s preseason performances, Lights FC will come short of the playoffs in their first season. They promised a high scoring attack, but they don’t seem to have the players to power that. But as long as the club entertains their hometown crowd, it will be considered a success.
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