Las Vegas Lights FC remained unbeaten at home this season and Cal Jennings scored his third goal for the club as they played to a comeback 1-1 draw against San Antonio FC on Friday at Cashman Field.
Lights FC had a single early breakdown on defense but otherwise controlled the proceedings, and while they undoubtedly could have used a win, the draw was a solid result considering they looked in danger of posting a loss on the night.
Steve Cherundolo started all eight LAFC loanees for Las Vegas.
San Antonio scored on essentially their first foray forward in the game, with Joaquin Varela scoring off a corner kick in the 9th minute, the Lights FC defenders leaving Varela unmarked as the ball fell to him.
Viva Argentina! SAFC have a lead!— The Striker Texas (@TheStrikerTexas) June 12, 2021
Alvaro Quezada had a sharp shot in the 16th minute, his attempt from range blocked by San Antonio goalkeeper Matt Cardone.
Stop us if you've heard this before... actually don't:— San Antonio FC (@SanAntonioFC) June 12, 2021
MATT CARDONE!!!! pic.twitter.com/kqvaY5MNZt
Cal Jennings nearly scored in the 24th minute for Las Vegas, with Bryce Duke setting him up with a no-look pass, but Jennings’ shot appeared to be tipped by Cardone.
Bryce Duke is also looking really fun. Slick pass here to set up a chance for Cal Jennings that Cardone looked like he just got a piece of to send wide.#LVvSA #LAFC #VivaLights pic.twitter.com/JVQlgpLBOy— Nicholas Murray (@NJEMurray) June 12, 2021
Las Vegas played better and better as the first half wore on, and eventually really had San Antonio on their heels heading into the break. But they didn’t get the equalizer, and the teams went into the break with San Antonio leading 1-0.
Christian Torres, who had a quiet first half, made way at halftime for Roberto Molina, Las Vegas’ first change of the game.
While Las Vegas continued to push for a goal, San Antonio got more on the ball in the second half and made it harder for Lights FC to keep possession unimpeded. Cherundolo brought in Julian Vazquez in the 66th minute for Frank Daroma, who had another hard-working shift in midfield. Vazquez seemed to enter to provide more attacking intent for Las Vegas. Vazquez had a nice one-timer moments after entering the field, but his shot went just over the mark.
Mamadou Fall, making his professional debut on loan from LAFC, left the game in the 79th minute for CC Uche.
Molina made a huge play right after that, as he drew a penalty on a foul from Ollie Wright. Jennings stepped up to take the spot kick, and scored in the 82nd minute to make it a 1-1 game.
Jordan Perruzza nearly scored for San Antonio in the 86th minute, but his quick attempt on the counterattack that had Las Vegas scrambling went just on the wrong side of the near post.
So all in all, this was a solid result for Las Vegas. They show their youth at times, but they seem like they’re finding their sea legs as a group, and I think the lineup adjustments they’ve made in recent games, particularly in defense, are starting to pay off. Jennings is a cut above at this level, clearly, and the team overall is starting to connect and find a rhythm. It’s good news for a development team with the bulk of the season to come.
Las Vegas are scheduled to be back in action on Wednesday, when they will face LA Galaxy II in Carson for the teams’ second meeting of the season. Los Dos certainly had Las Vegas’ number the first time around, but Lights FC will hope the second time leads to a better result.
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