Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 | 6:46 p.m.
The Las Vegas Knights used Saturday's game against the San Diego Fusion as a measuring stick.
The Knights, a semi-professional indoor soccer team based out of the Las Vegas Sports Park in Summerlin, narrowly lost to the Fusion, 9-8. The Fusion have won three Premier Arena Soccer League championships in the last seven seasons.
"We gave them a fight," Knights coach Meir Cohen said. "We're disappointed we lost the game but they had to work hard in order to beat us today. We just couldn't get the momentum. We were chasing them the whole game."
The game was a back-and-forth battle from the start.
San Diego entered halftime with a 4-3 advantage. The pace picked up in the third quarter as each team netted three goals and San Diego retained a 7-6 lead entering the final period.
Knights players slammed on the glass and waived their arms to incite the more than 200 people in attendance as the fourth quarter began. The fans rejoiced soon thereafter when Roberto Garcia tied the score with eight minutes remaining.
San Diego then went on to score a pair of goals to retake the lead 9-7.
The Knights Manny Kouhaiz scored with a minute remaining, but Las Vegas couldn't get any closer.
"I think we played the best team in the league probably," Kouhaiz said. "It's good because we can see what we have to work on. But I definitely think we could have won the game."
Marco Ina and Itzik Rapaport each scored two goals for the Knights while Rene Abrego and Mike Mason also found the net.
The loss brings the Knights record to 1-3-1. Before the season began, Las Vegas was set to host the national tournament at the Las Vegas Sports Park.
Now to secure a seed in the tournament, the Knights must win two of their remaining four games, including home games against the Arizona Heat on Feb. 7 and the Chico Bigfoot on Feb. 28. The national tournament will be held March 6 and 7.
ez said he was disappointed at the result of the San Diego game but expected the team to bounce back.
"They're a good team," Sanchez said. "Every time we scored a goal and got some momentum they scored right after us.
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or email@example.com.