Magical Vegas made it seven wins (and two draws) in nine games last week in a lethargic performance in the Invitation Cup against lower division side Todo Ciudad.
Starting the game in a 4141 proved to be too light, in an attacking sense, against a side set up with a 541 and sitting very deep.
Vegas struggled for rhythm early on and often intricate passes through narrow gaps were cut out and used as a platform for counter attacks by the opposition.
Lone striker Kadeem Gutzmore was often left with 3 defenders to contend with in a small space which made it difficult to create opportunities.
As the stalemate frustrated Vegas it only fuelled the fight in Todo, often challenges and clearances were greeted with shouts of encouragement from their teammates. This hit a crescendo after half an hour when a counter attack down the Vegas right left their most dangerous player tearing down the wing on his favoured foot, he swung in a brilliant low cross that was fired in at the back post to give them lead to hold on to in the game.
Right back Harry Pedersen immediately indicated he couldn't continue with a severe dead leg and manger (and goalie) Patrick Moore Jones changed their shape from a 4 at the back to a 3 with debutant striker Michel Bolou coming on up front. Tre Thompson moved into right wing with Deondre Dewar moving over to the left to complete a 343.
This immediately improved Vegas' options in forward positions with Perry Price, Gutzmore and Bolou completing a dangerous three pronged attack.
The balance that Thompson and Dewar offered Vegas did not go unnoticed, they worked tirelessly in both directions and their contributions gave great balance to the team - either could have easily earned the man of the match award for their efforts.
When half-time came, after a period of adjustment, players needed reminding that they had to earn the right to play and when they did it had to be at a higher intensity - especially if they were to break down the stubborn Ciudad defence.
They did, it was one way traffic, Jacob Bond and Shaz Anwar found themselves higher up the pitch and defenders Sam Bader and Giuliano Cinotti made extra men in midfield as often as possible to pin back their opponents.
The pressure told eventually ten minutes into the second half when a combination that had created numerous goals this season found a connection. Bond found space thirty yards out and slid a pass centrally to Price who stroked home for an equaliser despite close attention from two defenders.
Then the quality and confidence began to flow. Ten minutes later Cinotti stepped out of defence with the ball and played a lovely one-two with Bond and then played a perfectly weighted through ball for Price down the left channel. His first-time cross was fired in by Dewar at the near post for a lovely team goal that earned Cinotti the man of the match award for his contribution.
However, the lethargy of the first half had not left the Vegas players yet. They went off the boil and immediately gave Todo hope with a series of poor choices in possession and needless mistakes. This frustrated everyone, none more so than the manger who just needed to see his team see out the cup game with some intelligent possession.
However, Vegas were not able to keep the ball at all and three times within the last 5 minutes of the match Vegas had to give away dangerous free-kicks after sloppy ball retention.
Todo just launched these opportunities into the box and, luckily for Vegas, the headers they won were off target and didn't trouble their stand in keeper.
They will need to play with a smarter attitude if they are to overcome difficult opponents in future cup games as all that matters is winning those games to make the cup final these players deserve to be in.