Las Vegas Sun

December 17, 2018

Currently: 55° — Complete forecast

Local product scores early, helps Lights win franchise opener at Fresno

Matt Thomas

Courtesy Photo

Matt Thomas competes during a Las Vegas Lights practice on Jan. 29, 2018.

Las Vegas Lights FC owner Brett Lashbrook is insistent that at least one local player have a spot on the minor league team’s roster at all times.

They wound up with six for the maiden season, including Palo Verde product Matt Thomas. It was Thomas who scored the first goal in franchise history, finding the back of the net tonight just two minutes into the inaugural Lights game in franchise history, a 3-2 road win at Fresno.

“I don’t know, it was just a moment of bliss — I couldn’t have written it any better,” Thomas said in a statement. “I put my whole left foot behind it and just aimed far post ... I should have come up with a celebration beforehand, but I didn’t know that was going to happen.”

Las Vegas grew its lead to 3-0 in the second half on goals from Alex Mendoza and Joel Huiqui, who scored on a header off a corner kick from Carlos Alvarez. Alvarez also had the assist on the Mendoza goal.

“Obviously, we work on set pieces, and (the result) is a plus to the coaching staff, a plus to the guys who executed it the right way,” Alvarez said. “It felt really good. Every goal is a whole team goal. You saw the third goal, that was a center back becoming an offensive player.”

The Lights play their next four games in Las Vegas at Cashman Field, beginning at 8 p.m. next Saturday against Reno.

“Obviously it’s the rival ... and I think this makes it even better for us to get into that game,” Thomas said. “I think it’s going to be wild. I expect Cashman (Field) to be packed, they’re going to give us a great atmosphere, we’re going to show up with the fans behind us, and it’s going to be an unreal night for us next Saturday night.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21