Memphis 901 FC Kicks Off Season with Thrilling Home Win Over Las Vegas Lights FC

Memphis 901 FC ignited their 2024 campaign with a pulse-pounding 2-1 victory over Las Vegas Lights FC before a raucous crowd at AutoZone Park.

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Memphis 901 FC ignited their 2024 campaign with a pulse-pounding 2-1 victory over Las Vegas Lights FC before a raucous crowd at AutoZone Park.

The Beale Street Boys fought back from an early deficit, showcasing impressive resilience and securing a historic first home opener victory.

Las Vegas struck first, but 901 FC responded swiftly. In the 33rd minute, relentless pressure led to a defensive error by the Las Vegas goalkeeper, allowing Samuel Careaga to tap in the equalizer and jump-start the Memphis offense.

“You don’t want to show that you’ve been beaten,” said forward Nighte Pickering, of his team’s quick response. “If they score on you and you don’t respond quick, they gain confidence from it. For us to respond quick and not only tie the game but put two past them, that was great.”

“(Our) team looked like it had some real fight in it,” said 901 FC Head Coach Stephen Glass. “They looked like they weren’t going to accept falling behind. We pushed and looked like we could’ve scored three or four in the first half alone. You take your knocks but it always felt like the boys had it in them today.”

Just before halftime, 19-year-old phenom Nighte Pickering etched his name into the score sheet, launching a stunning 25-yard, left-footed strike that found the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.

“I think (the pass) came from Bruno (Lapa) on the right. It came to me and I took a touch and realized there wasn’t much pressure on me so I just decided to hit,” Pickering said. “It happened to go over the keeper right under the bar and it was a good goal. You do feel it when it comes off your foot.”

Memphis dominated throughout the match, tallying 16 shots and maintaining relentless defensive pressure.

“The first game is never easy,” Glass said. “I don’t think the club has won one at home so it’s nice to get that monkey off our back and push on.”

New midfielder Zac Duncan proved a key addition, logging an impressive seven interceptions, and goalkeeper Tyler Deric shined with three highlight-reel saves against Las Vegas’ potent attack.

Glass praised the energy they got from the home crowd.

“I thought it was incredible. There was a hell of a lot of noise, especially in the first half,” he said. “The drums were going forever. They responded to the fight in the team. The backing is always there. It felt good to come back and play in front of our home crowd. Hopefully, if we can keep winning, we can attract more people with the people that came and enjoyed it today. I certainly think the boys entertained them today.”

Looking Ahead

901 FC continues their homestand on Saturday, March 16th against Indy Eleven at 3 p.m. CT. With the energy and momentum from their season opener win, the Beale Street Boys are poised for another thrilling performance.