FRESNO, Calif. - Los Zorros returned to the win column Saturday night, defeating a 10-man Las Vegas side with Jaime Chavez scoring two goals against his former club manager to seal the three points. Fresno won 2-1 as Las Vegas eventually got one back from substitute Pablo Cruz at the 80th minute.
Fresno came out firing early, as Elijah Martin and Chavez each hit shots that missed just wide of their target in the opening five minutes. Chavez eventually found his stride, firing a banger that pinged off the crossbar to open the scoring at the 41st minute. Chavez started the counter-attack at midfield, intercepting a pass and then connecting with captain Juan Pablo Caffa, who returned a perfect assist through the defense, allowing Chavez to take his shot from just outside the 18.
In the second half, Chavez doubled his tally, this time receiving a back-heel pass from Lawal and sending it off a Las Vegas defender and into the back of the net. Chavez now has five goals on the season. Caffa recorded his fifth assist of the campaign, while Lawal recorded his third of the season.
In between the goals, Fresno received a one-man advantage as Las Vegas defender Jonathan Levin was given a red card for his two-footed challenge on defender Ramon Martin Del Campo at the end of the first half.
@ArunBasuljevic | "We were very much in control tonight." - HC Adam Smith on #FRSvLV https://t.co/wiR82cU2jB
Two minutes after scoring his second goal, Chavez nearly made it a hat trick but his low shot was pushed away by Las Vegas goalkeeper Thomas Olsen. Fresno outshot Las Vegas 18-4, with CJ Cochran grabbing three saves while Zachary Ellis-Hayden had a team-high four tackles at right back. Starting right midfielder Arun Basuljevic was carried off the field with a severe injury at the 22nd minute, as Lawal entered the game in his place. Basuljevic's injury is not known at this time.
With the victory, Los Zorros have accumulated 40 points for the first time this season, surpassing last year's total of 39 with 13 games to play. The club's 11 wins are already most in a season.
Fresno takes the road in Week 23, playing at OKC Energy FC on Saturday, August 10. Los Zorros return to the Valley for the third, and final Fuego Friday of the season, taking on Real Monarchs on Friday, August 16th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the Fuego Friday match are on sale now at FresnoFC.com and the Chukchansi Park box office.
Chavez scored both goals and nearly had a hat trick if not for a fine save. Chavez completed 16 of 18 passes and took five shots.