Las Vegas Lights
Photo by Lights FC Communications

Match Preview: Lights FC vs San Diego Loyal


After a 140 day unscheduled break in the middle of its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Las Vegas Lights FC finally returns to action on Saturday night to start a stretch of 15 matches in 11 weeks.


The match at San Diego Loyal SC is set for 7 pm PT and will air live on ESPN+. This is a rematch of the Lights’ last regular season match, which was also coincidentally their first home game of the 2020 season before the suspension of sports across the world, on March 7th. That match resulted in a 1-1 draw.


Frank Yallop LV Lights
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

Tomorrow night also features new manager Frank Yallop on the sidelines for Lights FC.  He will be facing US National Soccer Team legend Landon Donovan, who is the manager for San Diego Loyal SC. Yallop and Donovan have a long (and friendly) history with each other that began with Yallop serving as Donovan’s head coach during his early seasons in Major League Soccer. The pair combined for two MLS Cup titles with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Also, as announced yesterday, Lights FC’s second all-time leading scorer Raul Mendiola rejoins the Club for the remainder of the 2020 season after playing for the San Diego Loyal most recently. Mendiola played a half-season for Lights FC in its 2018 inaugural season, scoring ten goals, which rank him tied for second all-time in Lights FC scoring history.  The signing of Mendiola signals a considerable addition to the roster for the second half of the current season.

Lights FC will return home to Cashman Field in downtown Las Vegas one week from today for a Saturday, August 1st match against in-state rival Reno 1868 FC. This match will be the first installment of the 2020 Silver Cup Classic.


Lights FC News and Notes:


lights fc
Photo Credit: Lights FC Twitter

Today’s match will also be the first game without Eric Wynalda, the former Lights FC head coach. Last month he was let go by the Lights FC in a surprising move. “Something happened today. It is 100 percent my decision,” Las Vegas Lights FC owner Brett Lashbrook said. “I woke up this morning not anticipating this or wanting this to happen or knowing anything about this. By the end of the day, I felt like it was my choice and that it was the right thing to do,” via ESPN Las Vegas.

In his response, Wynalda said, “In Las Vegas, for Brett Lashbrook, it’s never been about soccer. I’m a soccer guy, and that’s the reason why we parted ways,” via ESPN Las Vegas.

It seemed that Wynalda and Lashbrook had some disagreements about the Club and about where the primary focus should be. In the past two years, Lights FC has been known as the team that dumps money onto the field from a helicopter to gain some attention from the city and league.

As an owner and businessman, Lashbrook provided these events to help expand the fanbase of the Club.


lights fc
Photo Credit: Lights FC

On the other hand, Wynalda always cared about his players and how they performed on the field. Through hard work, he wanted to help build this new semi-professional soccer club into a serious contender and a team for which their fans could proudly cheer. His main priority was what transpired on the field while also building great relationships with his players and this community.

Lashbrook admitted that he recently asked the players to sign a waiver releasing the team from liability if they were to test positive for coronavirus. The players refused and turned the request over to the USL Players Association. Due to this situation, Wynalda and his staff were prohibited from holding formal practices.

Speaking on the matter, Lashbrook said, “If we’re practicing in a public park, which is where we practice, there has to be an acknowledgment of that risk,” via ESPN Las Vegas.

Lights FC’s roster is shaping up nicely ahead of its revised 2020 season schedule. The Club will continue updating pertinent information regarding game schedules, fans in attendance, and health & safety protocols.



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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media 

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