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Las Vegas Lights take lead, but lose late against San Diego Loyal

Cherundolo’s side so close to getting first result of season.

Quezada scored his first goal as a professional.
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Las Vegas Lights FC have had a tough start to the 2021 season, but they were coming up against another winless side in San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday at Torero Stadium, and had real hope they could get a result, before losing late by a 2-1 scoreline.

This was the closest result to date for Las Vegas, but that will be scant consolation as they took their first lead of the season but managed to give up hope of splitting the points in the dying minutes of the game.

Five LAFC loanees started this game for Steve Cherundolo’s Las Vegas side: Cal Jennings, Bryce Duke, Alvaro Quezada, Tony Leone and Mohamed Traore.

Las Vegas grabbed their first lead of the season in the 18th minute, through Alvaro Quezada, who opened his professional account off a feed from Cal Jennings.

That was Las Vegas’ only shot of the first half, but they made it stand up through the first 45, with the teams going to the break with Lights FC leading 1-0.

San Diego put Vegas under major pressure to open the 2nd half, and Loyal FC were upset that an apparent handball by Las Vegas’ Julian Gaines in the box went uncalled in the opening minutes.

But San Diego’s goal was coming, and it came in the 56th minute, through Alejandro Guido at the edge of the box.

Las Vegas had a few looks after conceding, but San Diego really pushed for a go-ahead goal, and found it in the 87th minute, with Corey Hertzog finally scoring after Lights FC goalkeeper Alex Rando made three or four saves in quick succession before the ball went into the net.

LAFC’s fifth loanee, Christian Torres, once again came off the bench, and played the final 17 minutes of the game, creating a chance in his time on the field.

But while this was Las Vegas’ best performance of the season to date by a long shot, that was a game there for the taking, against a slumping San Diego side. Instead, they had to work hard for it but it looks like San Diego may have used Las Vegas as their slumpbuster. Time will tell.

Las Vegas are scheduled to be in action again in a week, when they’ll head up to the Pacific Northwest to take on Tacoma Defiance next Saturday. They’re still on the hunt for their first point and first win of the season, and Tacoma has been tough, but if they keep improving, maybe they’ll find the breakthrough before long? We’ll see.

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