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Spokane Velocity FC Puts up a Fight in Round 3 of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

April 17, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Spokane Velocity FC News Release

Andre Lewis kept Spokane Velocity FC's hopes alive with an equalizer in stoppage time, but the club was outlasted in overtime by USL Championship League's Las Vegas Lights FC, which secured a 2-1 victory Wednesday evening in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Lights FC's Riki Alba scored the go-ahead goal in the 113th minute after corralling a deflection and taking a shot that rolled into the bottom left corner of the goal.

"The guys fought so hard tonight," said Velocity head coach Leigh Veidman. "In the face of adversity being a man down they found a way back into the game and showed a real togetherness to make life tough for Las Vegas."

"The city and fans should be really proud of the fight they saw from the group tonight," continued Veidman.

After failing to register a first-half goal in the first and second rounds of U.S. Open Cup action, Velocity's front line got off to a similarly slow start against Lights FC. Las Vegas also failed to threaten the net early on, with neither team registering a shot on target in the first half.

The game's first shot on target resulted in a goal from Lights FC midfielder Valentin Noel, who tallied his third score of the season in the 51st minute. After receiving a short pass from Solomon Asante, Noel drilled his shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.

As Velocity remained scoreless late in the game, the club desperately tried to even up the score. One close chance came when Derek Waldeck delivered a well-placed corner kick that Luis Gil wasn't able to convert.

Shortly after his corner kick, Waldeck received his second yellow card and was disqualified from the game. This forced Velocity to play the rest of the match with only 10 players.

With stoppage time about to expire, Lewis took matters into his own hands by launching a shot from 40 yards out that deflected off the goalkeeper's hands into the back of the net. The goal was reminiscent of his game-winner in the first round of the Cup vs. Ballard FC.

Velocity was unable to carry its momentum into overtime, which saw Lights FC control 67% of the possession and take two shots on target in the first period of extra time. Las Vegas was eventually able to crack Velocity's back line when Alba delivered the go-ahead goal midway through the second half of overtime.

The final whistle marked the end of Velocity's first-ever U.S. Open Cup run, which started with a pair of 1-0 victories in the first two rounds. Las Vegas will advance to the Round of 32.

"Obviously, everyone will see the result," said Velocity goalkeeper Peter Swinkels, who finished with four saves. "What people aren't going to see is the resilience this team showed tonight. I'm proud of this team and what we've been able to accomplish in a short amount of time. We're in a great position for the rest of the season."

Swinkels and his teammates will resume their USL League One slate on Saturday when they visit the Richmond Kickers, who Velocity previously defeated 2-1 in their first-ever home opener at ONE Spokane Stadium.

Velocity will return home on April 27 to host Central Valley Fuego in the first match of the USL Jägermeister Cup. The in-season cup competition includes a group stage and a knockout round that creates additional matches of consequence in the annual calendar.

The rules for the Jägermeister in-season cup competition are slightly different from regular USL League One play. Matches that finish tied at the end of regulation time will go directly to a penalty-kick shootout, with the shootout winners earning an extra point. Shootout losers will still earn one point for the draw in regulation time.

As part of their tradition for home games, 509 Syndicate will gather 90 minutes before kickoff, and march from the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park to the stadium with drums, flags and lots of cheering.

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