Technical director believes Lights FC will get back on track

Updated May 18, 2018 - 2:57 pm

The Lights FC picked up its first win since March 31 against FC Tucson on Wednesday, but that still doesn’t erase a rough stretch of league play for the team.

The Lights are 0-2-3 in their last five United Soccer League games heading into a match with first-place Real Monarchs SLC at 8 p.m. Saturday at Cashman Field. The team is now sporting a negative USL goal differential (-1) for the first time, but technical director Jose Luis Sanchez Sola still remains bullish on the club’s chances this season.

“I promise this team will stay in the playoffs in October,” Sola said.

After eight regular-season matches, Sola said he’s gotten a handle on the quality of play in the USL now and knows what his team needs to do to compete. That’s going to lead to roster moves for the Lights, who already parted ways with forward Isaac Diaz last Friday.

Defender Jorge Guillen-Torres, forward Anuar Kanan and midfielders Adolfo Guzman and Sebastian Hernandez were not at practice Monday and were not active for the team’s Open Cup match Wednesday. The Lights had several trialists in this week as well.

Sola compared his club to a school: Not everyone who shows up the first day makes it to the end and graduates. So after eight USL games he assessed his roster and decided which players weren’t measuring up.

“I know the level of the league now,” Sola said.

The Lights’ trimmed-down game-day roster showed signs of a return to form Wednesday, even if it was against an inferior opponent. The team scored a club-record four goals, two of which came from snakebitten striker Samuel Ochoa, who has no goals or assists in USL play.

A formation change that put midfielder Carlos Alvarez into a central role seemed to finally help the team play the aggressive, attacking style owner Brett Lashbrook has always promised the fans. The Lights scored three goals in their opening match against Fresno FC, but they have six goals in the seven regular-season matches since then.

The team was shut out last time it played the Monarchs on April 30 in a 0-0 draw, but a different performance this time around will help get it on track to make Sola’s promise come true.

“We are committed to keep searching and working every day to get into control again and get the points and the results at home,” defender Marcelo Alatorre said. “This weekend I was thinking about it and I realized we are not having the results we want but we are not that bad. We have good points.”

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

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