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Rhode Island FC Takes Down Las Vegas Lights FC 2-1 for First Win in Club History

April 20, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Rhode Island FC News Release


LAS VEGAS - An early offensive push coupled with late defensive resilience led Rhode Island FC to its first win in club history on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over Western Conference Foe Las Vegas Lights FC at Cashman Field. Noah Fuson's first career USL Championship goal in the 45th minute ended up being the match-winner as the Ocean State club weathered a late Las Vegas surge to come away with all three points.

Rhode Island FC (1W-1L-4D) was first to breakthrough in the 25th minute, when Albert Dikwa "Chico" took advantage of a Las Vegas interception to send Noah Fuson streaking down the left wing with a through ball. Taking the ball towards the goal line, Fuson cut back a cross into the box that found Stephen Turnbull. The defender deposited a powerful, left-footed effort into the back of the net to give the Ocean State Club the 1-0 lead.

Late in the first half, Fuson continued his Man of the Match performance, getting on the scoresheet in the 45th minute to give RIFC its first-ever multi-goal lead. After Chico's shot from close range was blocked, Fuson was the first to react off the rebound, slamming the ball home from point-blank range for his first career USL Championship goal to send the visitors into the locker room up 2-0.

Early in the second half, things got interesting as Las Vegas (3W-4L-0D) pulled one back when Valentin Noël scored his team-leading third goal of the season. The scoring happened when Gaoussou Samaké got on the end of a pass inside the box and sent a looping ball across the face of goal, where Noël snuck a header past Jackson Lee at his near post in the 53rd minute.

Inspired by the shift in momentum, Las Vegas came within inches of an equalizer with just seven minutes to play when Riki Alba's header off of a corner nailed the near post, rolling back into the mix before Rhode Island FC eventually cleared the ball out of danger. Three minutes later, Charlie Adams sent a bending curler that flew just wide of the woodwork. In the 90th minute, Alba got on the end of another great chance when he connected on a cross from inside the box, but couldn't keep the shot down as his one-time volley flew north of the crossbar.

Despite the massive push to equalize, Alba's 83rd minute effort off the post would end up as close as Las Vegas would come as Rhode Island FC was able to remain resolute defensively and pull away with its first win in club history.

Up next, Rhode Island FC will close out the month of April on Friday, April 26th when the club hosts reigning USL Championship League Champions Phoenix Rising FC at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the match at Beirne Stadium on the campus of Bryant University are available now at rhodeislandfc.com/tickets.

GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN

RI - Stephen Turnbull (Noah Fuson), 25th minute: Turnbull drills home Fuson's cross from inside the box. LV 0, RI 1

RI - Noah Fuson, 45th minute: Fuson powers home Chico's rebound from close range. LV 0, RI 2

LV- Valentin Noël (Gaoussou Samaké), 54th minute: Noël took advantage of a missed Samaké kick by heading in the goal at the near post. LV 1, RI 2

ADDITIONAL NOTES

RIFC's win over Las Vegas Lights FC is the first win in club history.

Stephen Turnbull scored his second RIFC goal in the first half, and first in USL Championship play. Turnbull earned his first for the club in its 4-4 penalty-shootout loss to USL League One side Charlotte Independence in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, equalizing in the 115th minute to send the match to a shootout.

Turnbull became the second-ever RIFC player to score in USL Championship play, and broke the club's 279-minute scoring drought dating back to March 30 at Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Noah Fuson added his name to the list of first-time scorers as his effort gave RIFC its first-ever multi-goal lead and ended up being the match-winner.

Fuson played a role in both first-half goals with a goal and an assist. The goal was his first in USL Championship play.

Through six regular season USL Championship matches, the Ocean State club has not conceded in the first half.

With the win, Rhode Island FC moves up three spots in the Eastern Conference standings.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Noah Fuson

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