Las Vegas, NV – Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights Football Club once again provided wonderfully entertaining performance for their home faithful, with an absolutely dominating 5-nil victory over the visiting Tacoma Defiance on Saturday in front of a crowd of 7,805.
From the opening kick on Saturday, the Lights were paced by the pair of Irvin Parra and Tabort Etaka Preston, as the Defiance defense had absolutely no answer for the dominant duo. Preston got things started in the 11th minute when he deftly took a pass and expertly slotted the ball past Defiance goalie Trey Muse to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
After the game, Wynalda explained the thinking behind electing to shift Preston from the wing to an upfront striker, positioned just ahead of Parra: “This was kind of a risk, to throw Preston out there, He (Preston) is normally a winger; we put him up top tonight, and he (totally) delivered,” commented Wynalda, before continuing “it was a bit of a surprise for us…but for the most part, we’re thrilled with Preston, that was fantastic,” Wynalda said regarding the 20 year-old Cameroonian, in addition to praising his pace, and the additional pressure it puts on the opposition’s fullbacks.
Moving twelve minutes ahead in game action, and Parra emphatically made Tacoma pay from 6 yards out following an exceptionally clueless and clumsy challenge in the box by a hapless Antonee Burke-Gilroy. With Parra’s conversion on the penalty kick, Las Vegas pushed their lead to 2- nil after just 23 minutes of play.Unfortunately for Defiance AC supporters, Parra and Preston were just getting started. Nine minutes later, Parra would strike once again, this time beating Muse from an improbable angle, as Lights FC headed into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
The game’s second forty-five minutes saw the hometeam continue to not only dominate possession, but also outshoot their opposition by a wide margin. On the few occasions when they weren’t on the attack, goalkeeper Thomas Olsen was once again superb, in particular denying a GREAT Opportunity for Burke-Gilroy, making an amazing save, for which the Lights FC faithful showed their appreciation for.
Later, Parra would continue to torment a team from an area that may have benefitted from his prolific play-making ability, as he was formerly property of the Seattle Sounders’ 2 developmental team. Early in the 2nd Half, Parra would create yet another legitimate scoring opportunity making a tremendous run down the right wing, but his centering pass was ultimately intercepted and cleared out of harm’s way.Tabort Etaka recorded his 2nd goal of the evening in the 50th minute; as he was expertly able to capatalize off a defensive miscue on Tacoma’s backline and calmly place the ball past the goalie, who didn’t stand a chance in preventing Preston from joining Parra in recording the brace. Ten minutes later, Parra would secure his first hat trick as a member of the Lights with a beautiful finish off of a header in the 60th minute, once again delighting the 7,805 dedicated and passionate followers of futbol that packed the downtown Las Vegas venue at Cashman field.
Not surprisingly, Parra actually created another opportunity to etch his name on the score sheet moments later, but he unfortunately had another wonderful opportunity squandered when his second touch let him down.Preston continued to apply pressure on the Tacoma defense, almost equalling his mates 3-goal performance, but his shot off his left foot from the left wing unluckily hit the cross bar, as it was shot a mere few inches too high.
All in all, the dynamic duo definitely made sure that Wynalda’s decision to pair the two up paid dividends. The Lights will next take the pitch on the road against the Rio Grande Valley Toros in southwest Texas next Saturday evening.