Las Vegas Lights FC embarked on the 2021 USL Championship season on Wednesday, as the side debuted with a 5-0 loss to LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The new reserve team for LAFC, Las Vegas were very much in the game in the first half, but the more experienced Los Dos side scored a flurry of goals in the second half and the new-look Las Vegas team ended up being second-best on the night.
For the first lineup of the Steve Cherundolo era, Las Vegas went with six loanees from LAFC — Tomas Romero, Alvaro Quezada, Raheem Edwards, Bryce Duke, Danny Musovski and Cal Jennings.
A shot from Kai Koreniuk in the 21st minute forced a fairly routine save from Romero.
Musovski had a good look in the 31st minute, but his angled side-footed finish attempt sailed just over the mark. The forward was looking to test Galaxy II’s backline but the timing of the runs wasn’t quite right, as Musovski was called offside three times in the first half.
The teams went into the break tied 0-0 and while Galaxy II had three shots on target to none for Lights FC, the first half was really pretty even, the game just begging for a goal to really break things open.
Danny Trejo entered the game to start the 2nd half, with Musovski making way. He had an immediate impact, with a great Las Vegas buildup leading to Trejo and Jennings on a quick counterattack, Trejo opting to square a pass to Jennings, who just missed the target.
Galaxy II then went straight down to the other end and scored, Koreniuk finding paydirt off a low cross from Owen Lambe to slot the goal home.
Daniel Aguirre’s shot doubled the lead for Los Dos in the 57th minute, partially saved by Romero before it trickled over the line, the official score giving it as an own goal on CC Uche, which seemed harsh.
And then it got worse, as Aguirre got his goal on the night at the hour mark, his shot deflected by a Las Vegas defender which helped it into the net.
Diego Rosales came off the bench for Edwards in the 66th minute. Christian Torres entered the game for Roberto Molina in the 71st minute, as Las Vegas sought a first goal on the night.
But Jorge Hernandez scored a direct free kick in the 82nd minute that put away any hope of a Las Vegas miracle comeback, before Preston Judd added a final goal at the death to really add insult to injury on the night.
So needless to say, it was a chastening second half for Las Vegas, who played well in the first 45 but really fell apart after that, especially defensively. Having said that, it’s a first game for this group and I expect them to build on this and get better moving forward.
Las Vegas get a week before their second game, next Wednesday against Sacramento Republic up in Sacramento. Republic FC won their opening game last week, against Galaxy II, so it will be interesting to see these teams square off after they faced the same opponent.
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