Video Credit: USL

FSM Essential Recap: Lights FC vs FC Tucson- Game 6

Franchise Sports Media

The Las Vegas Lights FC were knocked out of the U.S Open Cup in an upset loss to FC Tucson in Arizona


Lights FC vs FC Tucson
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Lights FC

The Lights faced off against USL League One team FC Tucson in the second round of the U.S Open Cup this past Wednesday, where they fell short in a 3-2 loss to see themselves out of the tournament for the season. 

The Lights came out with a completely different lineup than usual, including a switch back to the 4-3-3 formation, hoping to give some field time and experience to younger players against a team from a lower division. The only two players that remained in the starting lineup since this past Friday’s away win against Charleston Battery were goalkeeper Abraham Romero and center-back Dekel Keinan. Nathan Sepulveda started at center back alongside Keinan, while Dylan Presto and Chase Bromstedt were left and right back to fill up the defense. The midfield consisted of Christopher Jaime, Alexander Romero, and Alvaro Quezada. Leading the lines in attack were Bruce El-Mesmari, Daron Iskenderian, and Roberto Molina

The first half of play saw little action. The Lights had their fourth scoreless first half of the season but were controlling the game’s play with 60% possession. The Lights continued to struggle with defending set-pieces the majority of the first half until they suffered a goal from one at the end of the first after conceding a Jacob Crull goal from a corner kick. 

The Lights instantly turned up the pressure going into the second half. In the 61st minute of play, Frank Daroma and Mohamed Traore replaced Bromstedt and Sepulveda, and only five minutes after the substitutions, Traore leveled the game with a long-distance header from a Molina cross. 


Disaster struck five minutes after Traore’s goal.


Lights FC vs FC Tucson
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Lights FC

Despite keeping the Lights in the game with some fantastic saves, the ball, unfortunately, slipped through goalkeeper A. Romero’s hands from a corner kick, which saw Tucson retaking the lead.  Right after the unlucky own goal, coach Enrique Duran substituted his biggest weapon and newly awarded USL Championship Player of the Week for Week 4, Daniel Trejo, in hopes of turning the game around.

Unfortunately, the Lights suffered another goal only six minutes after conceding the second from a Tyler Allen bullet into the top netting of the goal. 

The Lights remained hopeful of getting back into the game by bringing in more of the team’s best players onto the pitch. Daniel Crisostomo replaced Bruce El-Mesmari right after Tucson’s third goal. He managed to get on the scoreboard three minutes after his substitution with a beautiful longshot from just outside the box to bring the Lights one goal closer to equalizing the game. 

The Lights put on their best effort in the final ten minutes of the match in hopes of keeping their U.S Open Cup season alive.

Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough as they fell 3-2 short of sending Tucson to the tournament’s third round.

The Lights remained unlucky in the U.S Open Cup tournament. The team has only made it as far as the tournament’s third round in their franchise history. Despite having the best five-game start in the club’s history in the USL Championship, the Lights couldn’t make it to the third round this year and fell short of the round of 16 for yet another year. 

On the bright side, the Lights were able to boost the confidence and show some playtime to many of the newly signed and young bench players. This was a perfect opportunity to showcase some action for the youngsters to keep them ready for when they are needed in league play.

Another positive takeaway from this game is although the Lights were knocked out of the tournament by a team in a lower division, this means that there is only one mission to focus on now, and that is the USL Championship. As mentioned earlier, the Lights are currently on their best five-game start in their franchise history in the USL Championship, so now they won’t have to be distracted with any other tournaments and can fully lock in on league play. Let’s hope that the Lights look at the positive side of this unfortunate knockout and that this doesn’t have a negative effect on the remainder of their USL Championship season. 


The Lights are back at Cashman field this upcoming Saturday, April 9th, to face off against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at 2 PM PT. Make sure to tune in on ESPN+.

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-Murad Omaish – Franchise Sports Media

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