Week 4. What a week. This week USL championship teams Reno 1868 FC and OKC Energy FC faced off at Greater Nevada Field. Reno came into this one on their best start in club history. With this game Reno had the opportunity to get points in all of their first 4 matches. Brian Brown was back in Reno for this one. Reno drew with Fresno in their previous match. OKC was blown out by Sacramento in their previous match. Both teams up to this game looked like western conference power houses.
Reno came off of a game in which they played poorly. I was thinking having Brown back would help the team’s offense. I up to last Saturday I was concerned about this match and would have to fight for a draw. Then OKC got blown out by Sacramento. It changed my mindset. I then began thinking that Reno had the offensive ability to score 4 or 5 on OKC. However, I didn’t really think about how OKC would be hungry for a win after a tough loss. Either way I knew it would be a western conference power house match up.
What happened in the first half?
The struggles for Reno’s defense continued immediately in the first half. While they didn’t let in any goals, they struggled to clear the ball, gave away bad turn overs and had poor communication issues. I think at this point that those things will plague us all season. I also don’t see these issues going away anytime soon. A positive though is that Reno was getting more offensive opportunities then OKC. At the 29-minute mark Brown scored. He virtually did it all by himself too. He got the ball just past the center circle. Carried it to the top of the box. Took his shot. The shot itself looked soft. It was low and placed in the far corner. I don’t know how the shot went in but it did. It was an amazing effort from Brown.
What happened in the second half?
Reno started off with a substitution. Sam Gleadle came in for Lindo Mfeka. I’m not sure why this change was made. It might have been just to get fresh legs in the game for Reno.
Reno netted their second goal in the 51th minute. This goal came from Seth Casiple. It was assisted by Duke Lacroix. Again, it was another shot that came from outside of the box. Reno was up by 2 and in clear control pf the game.
At the 56th minute Reno would extend their lead thanks to a goal by Sam Gleadle. Reno at that point had a lead and was in control of the game. I thought Reno could hold on. I didn’t think that OKC was even going to score after Reno netted their third.
72nd minute. OKC scores. The player that scored was left unchallenged by the Reno defenders in the box. Again, another defensive mistake that cost the team. The lead is now cut but Reno still has a 2-goal lead.
OKC scores a goal in stoppage time. This cuts Reno’s lead to one. It’s a goal I don’t like to see. The OKC player looked offside in replays. The defending player was chasing him down but wasn’t able to catch him. The defender backed off because the keeper came out to challenge for the ball. I think that in that situation that was the correct thing for the keeper to do. I don’t think that you want the attacking player to have position of the ball five feet in front of the net. The OKC player was just able to get a touch on the ball and send it in the net before the keep could stop it. I don’t think there is much Reno could have done in that situation besides stop the play from progressing sooner.
Stoppage time was only supposed to be three minutes. OKC tied the game in the fourth. There was also plenty of times to stop the game in the third minute before the final play. Again, it looks like the OKC player was off sides. Our defender shouldn’t have let him get the ball any ways. This goal was very similar to the previous goal. The keeper had to come out and challenge, but the offensive player got the first touch. The game was then immediately called after the reset.
After match thoughts
I don’t like how either of the last 2-goals came about for OKC. There’s not much though Reno could have done in either of those situations. I don’t like blowing leads at the end. This is the second game in four Reno has done that. I don’t like the defensive mistakes. Unfortunately, though I don’t think those are going away anytime soon. What I do like is that we got points in all of our first four matches. By doing that they have created an unbeaten streak of four matches. They are also in their best start in club history. So, despite all of the negatives, there are some positives. Now that the first month is behind us, I am optimistic about the rest of this season. I do think we will make the playoffs. Once were at that point who knows.
There is also a problem with the team. It’s something you won’t see if you watch the live stream. It is something you won’t know if you follow the team on social media. The issue is that Reno 1868 FC might not be around much longer. It starts with the attendance. All home games so far in 2019 have had less then 3 thousand people at them. The team is currently only at 40% of what they averaged in the previous 2 years. This means that they are down 60%. Going down in attendance means less profit. it could even mean a loss. I don’t know what the profit numbers are. I only know what the attendance numbers are.
What is to blame when attendance is down? It isn’t the play. The team is off to their best start ever in club history. Could it be the fans? Could now having 3 different supporter’s groups be affecting attendance? While that could be a very real possibility I don’t think that blaming the consumers is a correct way to starting to find a solution. The blame is then put onto whosever job it is to get people to come to the games. That would be the front office. Specifically, marketing. However, there could be other factors in the front office casing issues resulting in lack of attendance.
The issue grows when looking at the supporter’s groups. I don’t want to get into why because it is complex, controversial, and a long story. The issue that some of the supporter groups are having is that they are being pushed away. People within these groups no longer want to go to games. This is because of the actions of the front office. This part of the issue becomes more concerning because of the attendance issue.
Losing the team is a very real possibility. If the team isn’t making enough money, the owner will no longer continue to support the team. It’s that simple. There is a rule in sports, if a team can last 5 years then that team can last 20+ years. I don’t want to see the team go. I love this team. I poor my heart and soul into it. At this point though I am concerned about the health of the franchise.
What I want to do is not to have to live with so much drama at a match. Drama isn’t fun unless it’s on the pitch. It seems like with every passing day there is more drama. It’s gotten to the point where my first thoughts when thinking about the team isn’t about what’s going on on the pitch, but just drama. It has reached a point too where I just want to not care about it. The drama however, does concerns me about the future of the team.
I think that it is something that people should be aware of. I am also upset and concerned about what’s going on. If anyone has any thoughts on how I should be dealing with this situation please let me know.
Reno 1868 FC’s next match will be against Real Monarchs SLC. This is Renos second away game and second road trip for the fans. The match will take place Saturday April 6. The match will be in Salt Lake. Game time is 1:00pm.