The Oakland Roots walked out of Cashman Field with a point after tying 1-1 with Las Vegas Lights, scoring in the third minute of action but conceding in the 24th minute and unable to find its offensive fluency again thereafter. Roots now hold a 1-6-4 overall record and still sit near the bottom of the table in 10th with just nine points leading into a crucial homestretch of matches.
There was a sense of disappointment from Juan Guerra and the players as they approached The Function members at Cashman. The gaffer had a message to the fans today:
It’s difficult not to feel disappointed; the Lights were without Cal Jennings given he was appearing for LAFC, Vegas’ leading goal scorer Danny Trejo was left on the subs after picking up an injury against Monterey Bay, and an early lead was dropped. All that combined, there’s a feeling of two points missed compared to last week’s tie against OCSC.
The result makes the team increasingly similar to 2021 prior to making its playoff ascent. It’s clear that installing a new system requires time, but there have been glimpses of what Guerra envisions for the team. Ottar’s goal in the third minute felt like a sign of things to come, but as the coach said after other ties at home to San Diego and Tampa Bay, they must stay productive over longer periods of time to close out wins.
Karlsson’s goal at 3’ came after a terrific run by Mikael Johnsen, starting his run on the ball from before midfield up the center of the park, while Oakland’s striker did well to take a touch with his left foot and follow up with a hard shot. Ottar nearly scored again in the 25th when a header attempt was tipped over the bar.
With the goal, Ottar tied the league lead in goals with six and already matches Jeremey Bokila’s team-leading six goals in 2021.
But from the third-minute goal, the Roots weren’t able to find as clear of opportunities and seemed a step slow in decision-making towards shots or passes, ultimately killing whatever plays were building.
In the 22nd, Oakland had a solid buildup when Karlsson did well to hold off a defender and spring Juan Carlos Azocar down the left wing, but the Venezuelan elected for a heavy-footed cross instead of a potential shot attempt. He also had a cross attempt go sailing in the 33rd. Charlie Dennis also had a wild attempt at a shot in the 38th.
Oakland had two more skyward efforts in the second half with Johnsen sending one high in the 58th and Formella having a more impressive strike go a few feet high in the 59th.
Roots’ best chance at scoring against came in the 63rd minute when Dennis had a shot go off of the left post. In the buildup, Emrah Klimenta sent a ball over the top to Formella, who did well to cut it back toward the center of the net to Dennis.
But after that point, Las Vegas did well to spring counter attacks and hold possession despite Oakland finishing the night with 58 percent of the ball and 10 shot attempts.
Las Vegas’ goal in the 24th minute by Alex Lara came from a corner, reflecting on the team’s lack of success at defending free kicks this season. Lara ran into the area for the unmarked header, while it appears Benny Diaz didn’t spot Lara’s run as he attempted a punch-out over Tarek Morad’s back.
The Roots now move into a critical homestretch in order to keep itself in the discussion, hosting LA Galaxy II on May 21, Sacramento Republic on May 28, and Orange County on June 1. After traveling to Monterey Bay, where you can expect Roots’ supporters in droves, Oakland plays two more at home against RGV Toros (June 11) and New Mexico United (June 15).
FotMob Top-10 Ratings
1. Ottar Magnus Karlsson, 7.6
In 90 minutes and 34 touches, Karlsson scored one goal with two shots that were both on target, completed nine of 14 passes, two successful dribbles in as many attempts, won 1/1 tackle, one clearwnce, two recoveries, won 4/9 ground duels, 1/2 aerial duels, and drew one foul.
2. Jose Hernandez, 7.3
In 90 minutes and 76 touches, Hernandez completed 61 of 63 passes, four long balls in as many attempts, and created one chance, to go along with 2/3 tackles won, 5/8 ground duels, 2/3 aerial duels, eight recoveries and dribbled past two defenders.
3. Danny Barbir, 7.2
In 84 minutes and 74 touches, Barbir recorded one shot on target and completed 52 of 64 passes, 6/14 long balls, created one chance, had 1/1 successful dribble, past one defender, won 2/2 tackles, two clearances, three recoveries, and 3/5 ground duels.
4. Edgardo Rito, 7.1
In 90 minutes and 71 touches, Rito completed 28 of 38 passes, created three chances, won 1/1 tackle, four interceptions, eight recoveries, 3/11 ground duels, dribbled past one defender, drew two fouls, and committed one foul.
5. Tarek Morad, 7.1
In 90 minutes and 91 touches, Morad recorded one shot that was blocked and completed 81 of 87 passes, 6/7 long balls, one clearance by header, 10 recoveries, 5/6 aerial duels, and committed one foul.
6. Darek Formella, 6.9
7. Emrah Klimenta, 6.9
8. Juan Carlos Azocar, 6.7
9. Charlie Dennis, 6.6
10. Mikael Johnsen, 6.5
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