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Three reasons to watch Defiance versus Las Vegas Lights

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Still undefeated at home, Tacoma can recapture second place in the Pacific with a win over LAFC’s affiliate.

Jackson Ragen clears the ball
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance.

The routine change of summer to fall has a new twist in Tacoma — a playoff run. When Tacoma Defiance host Las Vegas Lights tonight they will do so not just from a playoff position, but with the chance to retake second place in the Pacific Division.

Eight of Tacoma’s remaining matches are at home, where to this point they are 5-0-3, +8 with three clean sheets. Sitting three points behind Orange County and San Diego Loyal, Defiance have three games in hand on the preseason favorites, both of whom Tacoma already holds the tie-breakers over.

Las Vegas is in a slide, having gone winless in five straight matches, losing four of those. They will be further challenged because parent club LAFC has a game Friday night, have just sold Diego Rossi, might still be without the injured Carlos Vela, and there’s international duty pulling four players away from them. All of that provides Tacoma with opportunity for victory, but opportunities are not guarantees.

Why You Should Watch

  • Cheney Stadium Magic: Not only are Tacoma Defiance undefeated at Cheney Stadium this year, the classic park has been magical for all of its residents. OL Reign are third in the NWSL with only two home losses. The Rainiers are tied for the AAA West lead and have the best record at home in 2021.
  • Defense First: The key behind Tacoma’s success under coach Wade Webber has been a team ethos of defense first. The backline includes MLS prospects at every position as well as USL Championship legend Taylor Mueller. Scoring against Defiance is hard.
  • Who Can Score: This is where Defiance struggle. No one is a consistent threat to score. The creative energy is lacking both wide and from the box-4 center mids. Someone needs to make the step that players have in the past and go on a run as a threat. Diaz. Serrano, and Robles have done so before, and if Adeniran does it he could sign an MLS deal.

How to Watch

Match date/kickoff time: Thursday, September 2, 7:00 PM PT

Venue: Cheney Stadium | Tacoma, WA

Online Streaming: ESPN+

Defiance Absences: There are no injuries to report. Sota Kitahara is on loan to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria until the end of 2021. Azriel Gonzalez is on loan to FC Edmonton through the 2021 CPL season.

Lights: To be announced.