Cashman Field featured a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You,” a slump-busting goal and $100 poker chips being given away on Saturday.
The place is a lot different when the Lights FC win.
The Lights picked up their first regular-season victory since March 31 by defeating Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 4-1 on Saturday night in front of 5,712 fans, breaking a three-game losing streak with their most lopsided win of the year.
The victory came just a week after the team’s 7-2 loss at LA Galaxy II, and featured 10 of the same starters as that humiliating defeat.
”What we (did) today was the things we (did) the first four games,” technical director Jose Luis Sanchez Sola said. “Being brave, stepping out. It was difficult after six, eight weeks of not obtaining the results.”
The Lights (3-4-4) received goals from Carlos Alvarez, Freddy Adu, Samuel Ochoa and Matt Thomas in their highest-scoring game in United Soccer League play against a team that’s known for being stingy.
The Switchbacks (5-7-2) had allowed only eight goals in 13 games coming into Saturday’s match, but Alvarez added to that total in the 24th minute with a 25-yard strike after a free kick.
Adu, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, added to the Lights’ lead with a lefty finish in the 47th minute. The former American soccer prodigy was serenaded with a birthday song by supporters after the goal, and he received praise from Sola after the match.
“Freddy is learning, he’s understanding that he must move around (Ochoa) in order to get plays, in order to get balls,” Sola said. “And that’s exactly how the score by Adu (happened).”
Ochoa himself then got on the board in the 58th minute with his first goal of the regular season. After winning five headers in the box in the first half, the forward managed to deflect the ball into the net after his sixth to give the Lights a 3-0 lead.
“I just haven’t had that luck but today, you know, I was in the right spot,” Ochoa said. “I knew I was going to get crosses in, I just had to make the movements.”
Thomas added an exclamation point to the win by scoring his second goal of the season in the first minute of stoppage time. He was assisted by midfielder Zach Mathers, one of two Lights players to debut and make an assist in the game along with midfielder Raul Mendiola.
The only blemishes for the team were Switchbacks captain Josh Suggs’ goal in the 77th minute and a late scuffle between Colorado Springs forward Marty Maybin and Lights defender Marcelo Alatorre.
Maybin received a red card in the 80th minute, and Alatorre was subbed off with the right half of his face bleeding. Sola said after the game that Alatorre received stitches.
That still didn’t damper the Lights’ enthusiasm when they received $100 in Plaza poker chips after the game as part of the team’s player incentive program with the hotel. It was the team’s first time getting them at Cashman Field this season, but Ochoa wasn’t planning to hit the tables right away.
“(I’ll) save them until the end of the season,” Ochoa said. “See how many we get.”