USL 2020 schedule

USL 2020 Schedule: Lights Return Home July 25


Fire the confetti cannons and let the celebration continue. The Las Vegas Lights are ready to hit the pitch once again as the restart of the USL season is fast approaching. The league announced its upcoming schedule Thursday and confirmed July 11 as the official return date for the league.


Sadly, Lights fans will have to wait just a little longer to get their soccer fix. Their first game will take place on July 25 on the road against the San Diego Loyal.

This will be a mulligan of sorts for the Lights, who played San Diego in the season opener March 7. That game is fondly remembered for the majestic goal of debuting striker Junior Burgos from nearly 40 yards away that put the Lights on the board. The goal was celebrated among the nation’s most excellent sports plays that week and was recently voted by Lights fans as the greatest goal in franchise history. 


Frank Yallop LV Lights
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

Still, there are bittersweet memories of that night in San Diego. The home team tied the score 11 minutes later, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. In any previous season, this could have been considered a small victory. After all, the draw earned the Lights their first point of the season on the road. Just last year, it took the team five tries to score a single point in an away game. But the way the Lights thoroughly dominated the game that night suggested a victory was attainable. 

The 2020 Lights are not a team that is happy just to contend anymore. This year, they want to compete for a title. The season opener showed glimpses of that new mindset, but they let the two points slip away. 


They will get their chance to right that wrong on July 25. Only this time, there will be one major difference: Frank Yallop will be taking over the reins as new manager of the team. 


In a surprise move, Lights CEO Brett Lashbrook announced the firing of Eric Wynalda last month. Speculation says it’s due to philosophical differences between the two, with Wynalda saying to the media: “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.”

Over the years, Lashbrook has made a reputation for himself as a promoter of grandeur and spectacle. His quirky gameday attractions such as llama races and water balloon fights earned the Lights the moniker of “most interesting team in America” by Sports Illustrated. The hope was that with Wynalda at the helm and Lashbrook putting fans in seats, the Lights could put together a winning season this year. 

The focus now turns to Yallop to make that championship push a reality. He brings with him nearly two decades of managing experience, including two Major League Soccer Cups with the San Jose Earthquakes.


Photo Credit: Diane Scavuzzo

During his championship runs with the Earthquakes, Yallop was the manager of Landon Donovan, who played a vital role in those title wins. On July 25, Donovan, who is now the manager of the San Diego Loyal, will be competing against his former coach.

The Lights will make their long-anticipated home opener on August 1 against upstate rivals Reno 1868 FC. Given the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a little variation in terms of opponents for the Lights. Their 16-game schedule will consist of three games against each of their four Group B opponents. These opponents will be LA Galaxy II, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, and San Diego Loyal SC. The four remaining games on their schedule will be against teams nearby geographically. These will be against Reno 1868 FC twice, Tacoma Defiance once, and one other game against Orange County SC in the regular-season finale. 


Though it will not be the most diverse schedule, it is a worthy compromise to ensure the season’s continuation. Lights fans could be mourning their team’s season like the unfortunate Aviators fans. Instead, they get to continue to cheer their team on as they try to bring a championship to Las Vegas. Viva Lights!

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-Leo Schauer – Franchise Sports Media 

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