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Tacoma Defiance vs. Las Vegas Lights, recap: Chaos and (Ocampo-)Chavez

The Tacoma Defiance end a 14-game winless stretch behind Ocampo-Chavez brace.

Charis Wilson / Sounders FC Communications

The Tacoma Defiance have at long last broken their winless streak which had reached and unwieldy 14 matches. They emerged from a chaotic match against Las Vegas Lights that featured 30 fouls, 6 yellow cards, 5 goals and 3 red cards that led to a 4-1 Defiance win over the Las Vegas Lights. Tacoma did so behind Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez’s first and second career USL goals, Justin Dhillon’s 7th of the season and a night-cap from Shandon Hopeau.

Key Moments

3’ - Hopeau hit a stinger from outside the box but it was just about saved by Thomas Olsen. He didn’t control it well though and the rebound fell to Dhillon. With the net wide open and Olsen on the ground Dhillon hit it right at him. Dhillon poked it away from Olsen though and Hopeau put it into the net. The ref looked to point to the center circle but he eventually ruled that Olsen had control of the ball before Dhillon poked it away. The score remained 0-0.

13’ - Sam Rogers made a mess of things just outside his 18. He took way too long on the ball and Preston Tabort Etaka easily took it off him. With Tabort Etaka in on goal Bryan Meredith came out extremely well and smothered the chance at the penalty spot before Tabort Etaka could fully settle the ball.

31’ - Marlon Vargas put Dhillon in on goal with a long through ball. After a few stepovers Dhillon did what he needed to to get around Olsen and slid the ball into the goal. 1-0

36’ - Poor set-piece defending fell the Defiance again. Javan Torre got in front of his man easily and put a fairly simple header past Meredith. 1-1

47’ - Olsen miscommunicated with his centerback and missed on a punch which sent the ball behind him. Ocampo-Chavez was chasing Josh Atencio’s pass and was able to get to the ball first. He then took his time and dribbled into the net for his first professional goal. 2-1

66’ - Nick Hinds burst down the sideline and put in a good cross. Ocampo-Chavez cleverly slowed his run down a little bit right before Hinds hit the cross. This caused the defenders to lose track of Ocampo-Chavez and he was free to calmly sweep the ball into the net. 3-1

70’ - After a clash between the two sides Jesus Gonzalez received a straight red. With the referee derelict of his duties from the start of the match it was an inevitable outcome.

75’ - Javan Torre received a straight red for punching Joel Rydstrand in the face.

81’ - Ethan Dobbelaere made his Tacoma Defiance debut.

84’ - A whiffed shot fell to Ocampo-Chavez in the box. He had a fairly good look at his hat trick but spotted Hopeau in a better spot. Ocampo-Chavez unselfishly sent a quick and accurate pass Hopeau’s way which he finished with power, blowing it right through Olsen’s hand. 4-1

86’ - Having just entered in the 84’ Sammy Ochoa was sent off. It was harsh on Ochoa who looked to have accidentally stepped on Jesse Daley after losing his balance.

90+5’ - The ref blew the final whistle before anyone else can be sent off.

Talking Points

Is Nick Hinds getting his attacking chops?

It has been a struggle for Hinds since he was moved permanently to left back. He has had trouble knowing when to get involved in the attack and on the rare occasion he was able to get involved he struggled to complete more than 50% of his passes.

We saw a different Hinds tonight though. He made well-timed and aggressive runs forward and completed 79.5% of his passing in the attacking half. The vision and quality were beyond what he has done this year and maybe ever. You can see an example of his improved crossing in minute 41’ and his clever accurate passing in the 19’. He, understandably, still has massive improvements to make defensively but if he can bring this kind of attacking he may yet have an MLS future.

The rise of the Defiance attack

The Defiance have shown short spurts of maybe 5 minutes a match of what their attack could be. Tonight they showed its unrelenting potential for 45+ minutes. Their passing was quick and incisive, their movement constant and their finishing pin-point. It seems Chris Little’s patience may have at last paid off.

We know fully know what they are capable of. The next question is whether they can find consistency and whether they can escape their own half against a team with a better press.

First Team call-up power rankings

(A quick explainer of my methodology: The rankings don’t take into account the roster situation of the First Team, so the player at #1 is the player not on a First Team contract most ready for MLS, not the player the Sounders need to fill out their roster. However, the player in Bold is the player most likely to be the first player given a contract by the Sounders taking into account their roster needs.)

  1. Shandon Hopeau (—)
  2. Denso Ulysse (—)
  3. Sam Rogers (—)
  4. Aleks Berkolds (—)
  5. Josh Atencio (—)


Match Stats


Tacoma Defiance I 4-1 I Las Vegas Lights FC

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Venue: Cheney Stadium I Tacoma, Washington

Referee: Lukasz Szpala

Assistants: Christian Clerc, Cameron Siler

Fourth Official: Cuauhtemoc Delgadillo

Weather: 75 degrees and mostly sunny

Attendance: 2,208


TAC - Justin Dhillon (Marlon Vargas) 31’

LVL - Javan Torre (Preston Tabort Etaka) 36’

TAC - Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez 47’

TAC - Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Nick Hinds) 66’

TAC - Shandon Hopeau (Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez) 85’


LVL - Junior Sandoval (caution) 4’

LVL - Irvin Parra (caution) 45’+2’

TAC - Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (caution) 69’

LVL - Thomas Olsen (caution) 69’

LVL - Jesus Gonzalez (ejection) 70’

TAC - Antonee Burke-Gilroy (caution) 73’

LVL - Javan Torre (ejection) 75’

LVL - Sammy Ochoa (ejection) 86’

LVL - Preston Tabort Etaka (caution) 90’+4’


TAC - Bryan Meredith; Antonee Burke-Gilroy, Sam Rogers, Josh Atencio, Nick Hinds; Jesse Daley, Joel Rydstrand; Shandon Hopeau, Danny Robles (Ray Serrano 76’), Marlon Vargas (Ethan Dobbelaere 81’); Justin Dhillon (Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez HT)

Substitutes not used: Trey Muse, Alec Diaz, Ben Numbi, Ever Rubio

Total shots: 17

Shots on goal: 7

Fouls: 14

Offside: 3

Corner-kicks: 4

Saves: 6

LVL - Thomas Olsen; Kevin Garcia-Lopez, Gabe Robinson, Javan Torre, Christian Torres; Jesus Gonzalez, Jonathan Levin (Pablo Cruz HT), Junior Sandoval (Sammy Ochoa 84’), Irvin Parra; Preston Tabort Etaka, Santiago Echavarria (Jose Villarreal 58’)

Substitutes not used: Adam Hobbs, Ferrety Sousa, Edwin Rivas, Victor Rojas

Total shots: 19

Shots on goal: 7

Fouls: 16

Offside: 2

Corner-kicks: 4

Saves: 3

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