For the third week in a row, Lights FC will see action on a Wednesday night as the USL Game of the Week pits them against the hottest team in professional soccer: Phoenix Rising FC. For Las Vegas, it’ll be key to take advantage of their home field advantage facing a team that has won 18 consecutive regular-season games (Pictured: Against El Paso, Lights FC captain Bryan De La Fuente played his first full match in the 2019 USL Championship after returning from an ACL Tear he suffered in preseason action)
“Phoenix has proven to be an electric team. They have so many weapons and the physicality of the game always goes through the roof when you play against them,” said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. “They’ve figured out a way to get results which is the mark of a very, very good team. We’re going to make them do something that they haven’t been forced to do and that’s mainly out of respect. It’ll be a great game and I think both teams will be stretched to their limit. All credit to them, they’ve done great but we have no intention of losing points here.”
The 0-3 loss against El Paso Locomotive FC was just the third time this season Las Vegas conceded multiple goals at home this season in league play. Lights FC has shut out nearly half of their opponents when they’ve played at Cashman in 2019, and that’s the first step the team needs to take in a potential upset against the squad with the best record in USL Championship.
“In this league, anyone can beat anyone on any given night,” stated goalkeeper Thomas Olsen. ”It starts being strong defensively. We have to be organized and on the same page all game long. Obviously, a team doesn’t win that many games in a row off a fluke. They’ve got some studs and we learned that when we went there earlier in the season. But now we’re at Cashman, so anything can happen.”
Team captain Bryan De La Fuente saw action with Lights FC for the fourth game in a row after recovering from an ACL tear. For the first time this season he was able to play the full 90 minutes as he was on the pitch for the complete match versus El Paso Locomotive FC.
“I keep getting into rhythm, adding minutes as long as my knee keeps responding in a positive way,” said De La Fuente. “Against Phoenix or against any other team, either at home or away, we need to get positive results to make a playoffs push.”
WEDNESDAY’S OPPONENT: PHOENIX RISING FC
Phoenix Rising FC, defending Western Conference champions, kicked off the 2019 season with 2 wins, 2 losses, and 5 draws. Since then they’ve won 18 games in a row, the longest winning streak in American Pro Soccer history. In fact, they’re now only three points away from breaking the USL Western Conference record for most points in a single season.
Rick Schantz took over as Rising FC’s interim head coach on June 10th last year after the departure of former manager Patrice Carteron. Since then Schantz has led Phoenix to the USL Cup Final, where they lost 1-0 to Louisville City. Due to his success, the club removed the interim tag from his title ahead of the 2019 season.
Phoenix features the top goalscorer in the USL this year in Solomon Asante, who has put the ball in the back of the net 21 times. Rising FC is the only team that features three players in the league’s Top-10 scorers, with Adam Jahn tied for third-best with 14 goals, while Junior Flemmings is tied for ninth with 11 goals.
Goalkeeper Zac Lubin leads USL Championship with 13 clean sheets, including Rising FC’s last two games. Lubin is sixth in the West with 68 saves.
HERE IS EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF WEDNESDAY’S MATCH VS. PHOENIX RISING FC:
- This match is Salute to Local Heroes Night, where Lights FC will honor first responders that have been invited to Cashman Field, including officers from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, members of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, local military personnel, EMT’s, and more.
- Wednesday’s match kicks off at 7:30 p.m., start time for all Lights FC home matches in 2019. For on-site ticket purchase at Cashman Field, both the box office and will call open at 2:00 p.m. on regular-season gameday. Tickets are available at LightsFC.com/Tix and at every La Bonita Supermarket in Las Vegas.
- The Zappos Tailgate Party begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Cashman Field plaza, where fans can enjoy beer specials, tailgate games for adults and kids, music, the Zappos llamas Dottie and Dollie, Lights FC merchandise, and much more.
WHERE TO WATCH & LISTEN TO LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC VS. PHOENIX RISING FC:
Las Vegas Lights FC fans will be able to follow-up along with every match of the 2019 USL Championship season via national & local media outlets.
Wednesday’s game (7:30 p.m. kickoff) is USL Championship’s Game of the Week and will be streamed nationwide on ESPN3 with broadcasters Michael Watts and Devon Kerr announcing the action.
The Spanish-language radio broadcast with Alvaro Puentes & Alejandro Romo on the call can be listened at Deportes Vegas 1460 AM & online on LVSportsNetwork.com.