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Three reasons to watch Defiance at Las Vegas Lights with us

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Tacoma heads to Vegas, where LAFC’s second team plays, but does not practice — road travel for both sides!

“Hey buddy, let’s do this, together.” AB Cissoko, probably
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC and Tacoma Defiance

With the absence of T2 there’s a chance that Las Vegas Lights takes over as the No. 1 rival for Tacoma Defiance. Lights are the second team for LAFC, which of course means Sounders fans will dislike them. Vegas matches, under several coaches, have seen several red cards.

Now under the guidance of Steve Cherundolo, Lights FC are trying a new model, which involves players practicing and training in LA and then traveling to Vegas for games. Tonight’s match is their first game at Cashman Field this year, which means a llama (rest in peace Dottie), pitchside swimming pools, Toyotas-as-seats on the other side of the pitch, and all the rest of the bizarre experience that is Lights FC. They are 0-4-0, -12 on the season.

Tacoma should have more eyeballs than usual with Seattle Sounders off this week. After a full two weeks off, Wade Webber’s team will need to extend their unbeaten streak (2-0-1, +3) while regaining focus since Austin Bold couldn’t host the match that Tacoma traveled for.

Why You Should Watch

  1. Rare opportunity as road favorites. Road games in American soccer are a curse. Even the best teams earn barely over a point a game. Being favored on the road is rare. When MLS returns to play, only two teams are favored on the road (Colorado at Cinci and Seattle at Galaxy). At the USL level, it’s a bit more common as the talent spread between the best and the worst is greater, but in most seasons Tacoma has been closer to worst than best — the last three seasons have seen only a single road victory. Tonight, they are favored by 538.
  2. Loanees from First Team back with their buddies. Reed Baker-Whiting, Ethan Dobbelaere, Danny Leyva, and Abdoulaye Cissoko are available on Standard Loan, meaning they can play with both First Team and Defiance throughout the year. That’s a huge injection of talent to a side that has lost 3+ players a year to MLS contracts.
  3. Strong defense could flex into 3-5-2. With Cissoko re-joining the squad, there’s a powerful set of centerbacks available. Combined with Taylor Mueller, Tom Brewitt, and Eric Kinzer there are four starting CBs that Webber can lean on. There’s even a chance Brewitt starts as the DM, allowing Defiance to stomp out any attacks up the middle or in the air.

How to Watch

Match date/kickoff time: Saturday, June 5, 7:30 p.m. PT

Venue: Cashman Field I Las Vegas, Nevada

Online Streaming: ESPN+ (affiliate link)

Defiance Injuries: None reported. Alec Diaz is with the Puerto Rico National Team for World Cup Qualifying.
Alvarez had a concussion last week and was unavailable for the match at Bold. Mueller is at full health and fitness again.

Lights Injuries: Philip Ejimadu — Lower Body Injury