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Las Vegas Lights coach Eric Wynalda likes US in World Cup

Updated June 19, 2019 - 6:25 pm

It was 25 years ago Tuesday that Eric Wynalda, then a member of the U.S. men’s national soccer team, scored on a free kick to give the Americans a 1-1 tie with Switzerland in the 1994 World Cup at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

The goal was the first for the U.S. team in World Cup play since 1950.

Wynalda, a three-time World Cup team member and now coach of the Lights FC, still closely follows the men’s and women’s international competition. He’ll have a rooting interest Thursday when the U.S. women (2-0-0) conclude group play against Sweden (2-0-0) at noon in Le Havre, France.

“I’ve always watched the Women’s World Cup,” Wynalda said. “I have daughters, so it’s kind of mandated in my family that we congregate in front of the TV, especially when the U.S. is playing.”

Wynalda’s favorite player is U.S. forward Tobin Heath. He also likes Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle.

“She (Heath) is just incredibly talented, she’s a wonderful person and I just really enjoy watching her play,” Wynalda said.

The coach predicted that the team will make the July 7 final. “They have a very good chance to win it again,” he said.

Some of Wynalda’s players also had their thoughts on the women’s team:

Thomas Olsen

Goalkeeper, Las Vegas

Favorite player: Carli Lloyd, U.S.

Prediction: “They’re (USA) the best. So it’s pretty much if they don’t win, it’s a failure for them.”

Dejan Jakovic

Defender, Toronto

Favorite player: Christine Sinclair, Canada

Prediction: “I see them (USA) in the finals. I know they’re going for the gold. I know Canada is good, France and Brazil. I would love for Canada to win it all, but definitely say the U.S. is favored.”

Mobi Fehr

Midfielder, New York

Favorite player: Mallory Pugh, U.S.

Prediction: “I think they (U.S. women) are going to win the whole thing.”

Victor Rojas

Midfielder, Guarenas, Venezuela

Favorite player: Alex Morgan, U.S.

Prediction: “I hope the U.S. wins the whole thing. I support them. Venezuela is not there, so I like the USA.”

Pablo Cruz

Midfielder, Pasadena, California

Favorite player: Morgan

Prediction: “I say the final (USA). I hope they do (win it).”

Junior Sandoval

Midfielder, Quimistan, Honduras

Favorite player: Lloyd, Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, U.S.

Prediction: “I’m putting my money on the U.S. It’s going to be big for the country, and then they can keep fighting for equality.”

Sammy Ochoa

Forward, Morelia, Mexico

Favorite player: Morgan

Prediction: “Champions (U.S.). I feel the World Cup is more competitive this year, but I feel like they’re going to take it.”

More Lights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/lights and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Jonathan Eskin covers the Lights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at jeskin@reviewjournal.com

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