Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Velocity’s run in U.S. Open cup ends in loss at Las Vegas 2-1

By Ethan Myers The Spokesman-Review

A stunning goal in the 96th minute by Andre Lewis tied the match up late, but the Spokane Velocity eventually fell in extra time to the Las Vegas Lights in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Velocity held its own in a physical matchup against the Lights, which play in the higher-division USL Championship League, but ultimately ran out of gas in a 2-1 defeat on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

In the first-round win over Ballard, Lewis similarly scored a dazzling goal in the 96th minute — one that gave Spokane the victory. The Velocity knocked out the Los Angeles Force in the second round thanks to an 85th-minute goal from Luis Gil. But Las Vegas presented Spokane with its toughest opponent yet in the single-elimination tournament.

Neither club was able to find a shot on goal in the first half, as solid defense kept the match scoreless after 45 minutes.

Coming out of halftime, Las Vegas got on the board first. Lights midfielder Solomon Asante intercepted a pass in Spokane’s back third before dropping it off to midfielder Valentin Noel, who finished it past Velocity goalkeeper Peter Swinkels for a 1-0 lead.

The Lights controlled the play for much of the second half, and the Velocity, which emptied most of its bench in the second half, seemed to have their backs against the wall after defender Derek Waldeck picked up his second yellow card three minutes into stoppage time.

Despite being short-handed, Spokane did not concede in the final minutes.

Just as the fifth and final minute of stoppage time came to an end, Lewis maneuvered around a defender before blasting a shot from over 30 yards out. The ball tipped off Las Vegas goalkeeper Raiko Arozarena’s hands before finding the back of the net to tie it up at 1-1, sending the stadium and Lights players into a shock.

The whistle blew shortly after to mark 30 more minutes of play.

Going into extra time, Spokane looked to carry over its momentum, but both teams appeared fatigued and play was sloppy through much of the first 15 minutes.

But Spokane’s undermanned back-line was finally exposed in the 119th minute when Asante cut through the defense into the box. The ball eventually found Lights forward Riki Alba who ripped it by Swinkels to take a 2-1 advantage.

The Velocity’s last gasps at sending the match into penalty kicks came up short.

Spokane will return to USL League One play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the Richmond Kickers on the road.