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Eric Wynalda fired as Las Vegas Lights FC coach

Updated June 17, 2020 - 9:38 pm

The Lights FC fired coach and technical director Eric Wynalda on Wednesday, less than one month before its season was set to restart.

Lights owner Brett Lashbrook declined to give a reason for Wynalda’s firing after one season. He said a search for a replacement will begin immediately.

Wynalda, a former U.S. national team striker, sent out a tweet a few minutes before the Lights’ announcement that said “Thank you @lvlightsfc – miss ya already.”

Attempts to reach Wynalda via social media were unsuccessful.

The Lights were 11-15-8 last season under Wynalda and finished 13th in the United Soccer League Championship’s Western Conference. The team played to a draw in its only match this season before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play.

Wynalda, 51, was hired by the Lights in October 2018. The National Soccer Hall of Fame member was previously an outspoken TV analyst and ran for the U.S. Soccer presidency unsuccessfully in 2018.

He coached in lower divisions before joining the Lights.

Most notably, he led fifth-division Cal FC to an upset of Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup.

The Lights, however, were Wynalda’s largest project. He improved the team’s record after it went 8-19-7 under coaches Jose Luis Sanchez Sola and Isidro Sanchez.

The league has a tentative July 10 return date.

“Obviously, the timing of this is not ideal,” Lashbrook said. “We’ll do (our coaching search) in an expedited manner but also in a smart manner.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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