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Las Vegas Lights play to draw in season opener

Updated March 9, 2019 - 11:02 pm

The Las Vegas Lights dominated possession.

They created chance after chance against Austin goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.

Even when shots didn’t come, Las Vegas kept almost constant pressure in the offensive end during its United Soccer League opener Saturday at Cashman Field.

The only thing Las Vegas didn’t do to start its second season was score, instead settling for a 0-0 draw against the Bold.

A year ago, the Lights opened with a 3-2 victory at Fresno but managed just seven more victories during the season. They finished the year with 25 points for 15th place out of 17 teams and an overall record of eight wins, seven draws and 19 losses.

That led to the firing of coach Isidro Sanchez and the hiring of U.S. soccer great Eric Wynalda as technical director and head coach in October. The new direction paid dividends in the aggressive style the team played.

And the Lights actually did put the ball in the net twice in the first three minutes of the second half but didn’t receive credit. An offside call negated a point-blank effort, and then Gabe Robinson’s throw-in from the right side didn’t touch anyone as it went by Restrepo.

The Lights had several good chances in the first half.

Cristhian Hernandez worked the lower left corner of the Bold net on consecutive advances with about eight minutes left in the half.

Off a free kick from 25 yards out, Hernandez punched a ball that skimmed the grass and looked bound for the net. Restrepo dived and poked the ball just outside the upright for a Lights corner kick.

Hernandez fed Christian Torres with a short ball, received the return pass and just missed the same corner again.

Later, with three minutes to go before the break, Torres worked his way into the box. He outdueled two Austin defenders and finally let fly with a left-footer that rose and went just over the crossbar.

A goal for the win just never quite came.

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