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Gamethread: Tacoma Defiance v. Las Vegas Lights FC

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Wednesday, August 19 at 7:30 PM, Tacoma Defiance take a rescheduled trip to Las Vegas. Watch on ESPN+

Tacoma Defiance have the benefit of a quick turnaround following their frustrating loss to Sacramento Republic FC over the weekend as they play Las Vegas Lights FC tonight. This match, originally scheduled for last Wednesday, August 12, pits Tacoma (2-4-1, +1) against a Las Vegas Lights side whose record (0-3-1, -3) suggests that they may provide a good opportunity for the Defiance to change their luck.

Las Vegas, coached by Frank Yallop following Eric Wynalda’s departure earlier this year, have certainly struggled to find results in 2020. Their lone draw came in their first game of the season, a 1-1 match against San Diego Loyal back in March, and they’ve lost all three games they’ve played since the restart. While that record is hardly what you could call “good,” all three games have been decided by a 1-goal margin. The Lights have only scored a total of two goals through their four games, which hopefully is a good omen for the kind of night Tacoma’s defense might have, while the fact that the Defiance attack has yet to be shut out this season bodes well for their ability to at least stop their losing streak at two games.

This game could serve as a first appearance for recent signings Alex Villanueva and Eric Kinzner. Villanueva’s signing was only just announced today, but he made five appearances for Tacoma in 2019 as a Sounders Academy call-up.

Keys to the Match

  • Keep the streak alive: Even before the pandemic shutdown, Tacoma hadn’t been shut out during a game in 2020. You actually have to go back to September 10th of last year to find the last USL Championship game in which the Defiance didn’t get at least one goal. With Las Vegas’s scoring troubles, now’s no time to stop putting the ball in the back of the net.
  • Eliminate mistakes: Is it cheating to repeat a key from the last match? Who cares, it’s still important. As much as Las Vegas’s score sheets may not paint a picture of a team that’s going to be a huge threat, giving them cheap looks at Christian Herrera’s goal and hoping they won’t finish is a bad gamble.
  • Don’t go on tilt: When Tacoma Defiance are calm and play their own game, they tend to find success. That means a combination of smart possession, cohesive movement, and taking advantage of transition opportunities with speed and ruthlessness. Letting Vegas force them into bad passes or aimless dribbles will create the kinds of mistakes and opportunities that Reno and Sacramento punished them for.

Lineups

A formation change and a number of personnel changes for Tacoma, and Alex Villanueva makes his first appearance in the 18 as a pro.

And for the Lights:

How to Watch

Date/Time: Wednesday, August 19, 7:30 PM PT

Location: Cashman Field, Las Vegas, Nevada

Streaming: ESPN+