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Lights FC not sharp in loss to Rio Grande Valley FC

Updated July 14, 2018 - 11:46 pm

Midfielder Daigo Kobayashi threw his hands on his head and stared in disbelief as his shot bounced inches over the post Saturday.

The Lights FC wasn’t sharp, and Rio Grande Valley FC wasn’t forgiving.

Minutes after Kobayashi missed a potential equalizer in the 88th minute, Rio Grande Valley struck on the counterattack and secured a 2-0 win at Edinburg, Texas. A few fresh legs in the lineup weren’t able to help the Lights in their third match in eight days, and they were shut out for the fifth time.

“We knew (Rio Grande Valley) was a very disciplined team, and if you watched their latest results, it has been very difficult to get them to concede goals,” coach Isidro Sanchez said. “But we played very long, we weren’t compact and that’s why we had a very low volume of offensive plays.

The Lights (5-8-5) had four players make their first start (Daniel Guzman Jr., Omar Salgado, Rodrigo Inigo and Joseph Patrick Perez) and looked disjointed early. The team was outshot 13-3 in the first half by Rio Grande Valley (2-6-10) and gave up a late goal after facing consistent pressure.

Midfielder Raul Mendiola attempted a clearance following a wild scramble in the box, but defender Conor Donovan picked the ball up in the 45th minute and fired a shot into the top corner.

It was Donovan’s first goal of the season, and his long strike came with forward Samuel Ochoa defending him closely.

Sanchez tried to give the Lights a spark in the second half, sending Guzman Jr., Salgado and Perez to the bench in the first 20 minutes.

“They gave a big effort but lacked the rhythm of competition,” Sanchez said of the newcomers. “They showed good things, but we’ll be looking to fit them in at the pace we want moving forward.”

The changes helped the team find some cohesion, and it recorded eight of the last nine shots of the game. That included Kobayashi’s miss a foot away from the net, after Ochoa was able to head the ball to the feet of the midfielder.

Kobayashi had to play it off a bounce, hitting it too hard and over the net. He had another chance minutes later when a rebound came near him, but Rio Grande Valley got the ball and started its counterattack.

Aldo Quintanilla slid a pass to teammate Jesus Enrique at the end of the play, and the latter scored just before stoppage time on the Toros’ first shot since the 58th minute. The goal gave Rio Grand Valley its first win since April 25 and dropped the Lights to 1-6-2 on the road.

“We train hard, and we need to turn that into good performances,” Sanchez said.

“We train hard, and we need to turn that into good performances,” Sanchez said.

More Lights: Follow Las Vegas Lights FC coverage at reviewjournal.com/lights and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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