Photo courtesy L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Lights FC
LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Lights FC and Reno 1868 FC saw the first edition of the Silver State Cup end with honors even as the teams played to a 1-1 draw in front of 9,019 fans at Cashman Field on Saturday night. Las Vegas took the lead in the 27th minute when a corner kick from the left fell to Alex Mendoza in the penalty area, and the midfielder fired home low into the right corner, but Reno answered a minute later as Danny Musovski followed up to put away the rebound from a long-range shot by Brian Brown. Las Vegas’ Sammy Ochoa sent a header just high early in the second half, while defensively Zak Drake made an important clearance after Joel Huiqui had just broken up a chance for Reno’s Brian Brown just past the hour-mark. Reno was reduced to 10 men in the 72nd minute when Musovski received his second yellow card, and Lights FC’s Matt Thomas almost produced a winner with four minutes to go as his header went just wide, clipping the right post before going behind for a goal kick. Las Vegas’ last-gasp chance to win the game came in stoppage time, but Reno goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski tipped over Juan Carlos Garcia’s header to preserve 1868 FC’s road point.
27’ – LV – Alex Mendoza
28’ – RNO – Danny Musovski
Three Things That Matter:
1. Las Vegas' Alex Mendoza was on the bench to start the game, but after being thrust into action after a first-half injury to Daigo Kobayashi produced the opening goal with a well-taken finish that gave Lights FC first blood. While Las Vegas will be hopeful Kobayashi’s veteran presence won’t be out of its lineup for long, Mendoza’s overall performance added to the goal as he fared well against a solid Reno midfield to help the hosts earn a positive result.
2. The biggest bugaboo for a side is to concede quickly after taking the lead, and if there was a disappointing aspect to Las Vegas’ performance it was that it allowed Reno back on level terms so quickly after Mendoza’s opener. The goal itself was part of a mixed night for Reno’s Danny Musovski, which also saw the former UNLV standout earn his marching orders with 18 minutes to go, a sour ending to a night that saw him play brightly, finishing with four shots.
3. Honors ended even in the first meeting between the Silver State Cup rivals, and although Las Vegas will be disappointed it didn’t create more with a man-advantage the night will be one that set an ideal tone for the series to come this year and beyond. With a packed house of more than 9,000 fans at Cashman Field, the energy on the field was matched by that in the stands and should provide plenty more entertainment at Greater Nevada Field later this year.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Carlos Alvarez, Las Vegas Lights FC – Alvarez was active all of the game in the attacking third for Lights FC as he recorded six key passes and completed 29 of 36 passes overall.
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – March 31, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field
Reno 1868 FC at Rio Grande Valley FC – March 28, 11 a.m. ET, H-E-B Park