Reno 1868 FC faced off against Orange County SC. This game was a rematch of the last game Reno played in 2018. That game was round 2 of the USL cup. In that game Orange County was able to win by only one goal. Reno wasn’t able to create anything on offence in that game, despite scoring 4 on Orange County just 2 matches prior. Orange County would exit the playoffs the next week. This series of events was still in the minds of Reno fans when they found out that they would have a rematch to start the 2019 season. This made Reno’s home opener one the second most anticipated game during the off season. The anticipation for this match and to get the season under started was only matched by the anticipation for the San Jose Earthquakes preseason game. This game did not disappoint.
Going into the game I think of people felt like this game could measure how were playing in the beginning 2019 compared to the end of 2018. Will we better? Will we be worse? Will we get revenge? Those are all questions that were floating around. I think that the fans put a lot of pressure on the players to come out and win. At least in the minds of fans.
What I was thinking prior to this game and said in the All For Our City Podcast was that I don’t think that Orange County has the defense to control our offence. I still think we have a better offense then they have a defense. I think that by not coming out and gunning to score along with mistakes on defense led to the result we got.
What happened in the first half?
At times Orange County had no pressure on Reno while they were on offence. The problem largely was that Reno didn’t come out and attack right out the gate. Orange County was playing back and Reno was playing forward. In the first half when Reno held the ball in their own end there was no pressure from Orange County. I think Reno could have taken advantage of this by getting the ball back inside the attacking third as quickly as possible. What happened though is that when Reno had the ball in their own end, they tried to slow things down instead. I see this as a problem for the team as they have played their best in the past when they are on the counter attack. The same thing happened today. They played their best offense when they tried to get the ball into the attacking third as quickly as possible.
Towards the end of the half, maybe 10-12 min left, Brian Brown went down hard. No foul was called. For the rest of the half he was limping around and not playing at full. He was not challenging players or asking for the ball. It looked like it could have been a serious injury. He did return in the second half. To me that indicates that it’s not a serious injury. He could still be injured. Even if it’s just a minor injury. I don’t want him or any player to be injured. I don’t however think that he will be playing at 100% next week. He might be playing 90-99 but not 100. That all of course depends on the severity of the injury.
If Brian Brown is out due to injury it will affect the team more than any other player outside of the goalie. Like I have said in the All For Our City Podcast, He is running our offence in a similar way to how a point guard would in basketball. It really showed today as well. Towards the end of the game he was the main player creating offensive chances. There were plays during the game where he did elevate the play of his team mates. The way he did it too was like follow the leader. In that way, he was able to step up as a leader. If he is out then the team loses that leadership on offense. That might lead to the team losing out on 5 or 6 scoring chances in a game. That’s huge in soccer because teams usually only get around 10 offensive opportunities in a game.
Orange County had nothing going for them in that first half. They might have had only one scoring chance the entire 45 minutes. I think that this happened because Orange County played back. Part of that was when Reno had the ball in their defensive end, Orange County didn’t put any pressure on them. This led to Reno being able to remain in control even in their defensive end. Reno didn’t take advantage of this. That was mistake. Reno basically allowed the score to be a draw at half. This mistake would come back to haunt Reno.
What happened in the second half?
Reno came out and continued to do what they did in the first half. I understand why. What they were doing did give Reno some scoring chances in the first half. Brian Brown did get a goal in the 62’ minute to put Reno up by one. Reno’s lead quickly turned into a 2-goal lead as they would score in the 68’ minute. Brian Brown had his hand in making that goal happen by getting an assist. Things continued in the same manner without much change. Then Orange County scored. Orange County had made one significant change after that second Reno goal. They started to put pressure on Reno in their own end. That’s why they were able to score.
The way the goal happened is that the Reno defender had the ball and was unable to clear it. He turned it over while trying to pass it back to the goalie. The goalie wasn’t where the defender thought he was. This miscommunication led to an easy goal for Orange County. That mistake would change the mentality of the Reno plays. They were trying to get the two-goal lead back. Every time they had an offensive opportunity and didn’t score the players got upset.
Orange County would get a second goal to tie the game in the 90’ minute. They got a goal after a foul was called on Reno’s goalie which led to a penalty kick. Debating whether or not it’s a foul isn’t important. What is important is that within a timeframe of about 20 minutes Reno lost control of the game. The team won’t be able to find success moving forward If they lose control in the last 20 minutes. I think they lost control because Orange County made at least one change down the stretch and Reno didn’t adapt to it. I think that’s ultimately what led to the miscommunication on defense. I think that the defender thought that he had more time.
It was a defeat for Reno and a win for Orange County. Even though both teams walked away with only one point, the manner in which the game was ended made it a Reno defeat. Orange County overcame something. A two-goal deficit. Reno had something taken away. A two-goal lead. When teams are able to force a tie, it is a win. When a team gives up not one but 2 goals that were avoidable (in my opinion), it’s a loss.
Moving forward Reno has shown that they still have some things to work on. Hopefully they can improve on those areas quickly. I think that they can. I think that they will be a really dominate team when they do. I think if they play the way they did in the game minus the last 20 minutes and push more for a lead to start the game Reno will come out with a win.
Following the Reno 1868 FC game was the San Jose Earthquakes game. Reno is the affiliate team for San Jose. What surprised Reno fans is that multiple players who had previously played in Reno were scratched. They weren’t even sitting on the bench. On top of that only one player has been sent to Reno from San Jose to start the season. To me it’s confusing. If San Jose is not going to use or doesn’t want the players why wouldn’t they send them to Reno? Especially if the players have previously played in Reno. A thought I have on that is that there might be some disagreements between the two clubs in management. Like someone doesn’t like someone else kind of thing. A consolation to this though is that San Jose lost. I personally want to see San Jose successful, but that’s only because of their connection to Reno. If they aren’t going to send us players or aren’t going to play players they have taken from us, I could care less if they are successful. I know most Reno fans feel the same way too.
My player of the match is Brian Brown. The reason I chose him is because he did everything this in this game that I thought he needed to do to for the team to be successful. He showed leadership. He scored a goal. He assisted a goal. He elevated the entire offense at multiple points. He also overcame an injury.
The next Reno 1868 FC game will be against Austin Bold. That game will take place next Saturday at 1:45pm. The game will take place at Greater Nevada Field. The promotion for that game is a Saint Patrick’s Day calibration.