Photo courtesy L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Lights FC
LAS VEGAS – Real Monarchs SLC put on a clinical display managing a comfortable 2-0 victory over Las Vegas Lights FC at Cashman Field on Saturday night. The visitors wanted to show why they are top of the USL Western Conference and wasted no time in asserting their dominance on the match, opening the scoring just three minutes into the match as the Monarchs capitalized on a mistake, allowing Josh Heard to square for Sebastian Velasquez to poke home the opener. The Lights FC offense tried to respond but sloppy passing caught out the hosts again as Real was able to run the ball forward and double the lead. Justin Portillo was able to play a ball forward for Josh Heard, running on goal, clean past the defense, and easily send it past the keeper. Now with a two goal deficit the hosts were forced to push harder and went for the match, dominating possession for the rest of the half but couldn’t break through a determined Monarchs defense, keeping it 2-0 at the break. Vegas came out from the break eager to get back into the match but up against an experienced defense Lights FC’s huffing and puffing was not enough to break through the wall, which at times contained all 11 Monarchs. Four minutes from time Vegas went agonizingly close to setting up a dramatic finish as a through ball for Sammy Ochoa got over the keeper but could only find the bar, letting the Monarchs off the hook as they took all three points in the 2-0 win.
3’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Josh Heard)
22’ – SLC – Josh Heard (Justin Portillo)
Three Things That Matter:
1. With the two teams having only played each other 19 days ago as the first match at Zions Bank Stadium, this match presented an opportunity for both teams to show what lessons they had learned. With Las Vegas the only team to take a point from the new stadium, the Monarchs were determined to get revenge in this match, learning the lessons from the scares in that scoreless draw and not over committing, a tactic that worked well as they comfortably won the match.
2. After such a strong start to the season hopes were high for the expansion Lights FC, riding high in the USL Power Rankings but since then things have come down to earth. In the last six matches Las Vegas has only scored three goals, and has failed to win all of those matches, falling well off the pace in the USL Western Conference Standings.
3. Since the last match between these two sides on April 30th the two teams have been trending in opposite directions, for the Monarchs it has been perfection with this match marking four straight wins while for Lights FC it has been three matches without a win a trend that needs to be arrested quickly if Las Vegas is to get back in the USL Cup Playoffs hunt.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Josh Heard, Real Monarchs SLC – Heard provided the assist on the opening goal before scoring one himself as part of a strong performance which saw him involved all over the park.
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. LA Galaxy II – May 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – May 26, 5 p.m. ET, Providence Park