1868 Life (A Game Review Blog) RNOVTUL

Firstly I just want to quickly address what happened last week. There was a lot of negative comments made about my last game review. Some of it was about my opinion and some of it was about my writing. As far as my opinion, what I believe hasn’t changed. I am going to see the game differently then other people and this blog series are where I am going to express my opinion. As far as how I write these, I am taking steps to improve. I did get some helpful feedback last week about sports writing.
This weeks match saw Reno 1868 FC at home. They played the Tulsa Roughnecks. This would be the week 9 matchup that would be one of the most entertaining matches I have Been to in a while. This match is also the only home match for Reno on the USL schedule for the month of May.

Leading up to this match Fabian Bastidas, had his contract terminated by Tulsa. This was because he used hate speech during the Tulsa Roughnecks, Oklahoma City Energy match. The USL has a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech. I think this was the right choice by the Tulsa Roughnecks and the USL. You can read more about it here.

Pregame thoughts

During this match, Reno 1868 FC decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I liked a lot of what the promo crew did for this match. Some of the promos included: a DJ booth, alcohol specials, a mariachi band, a folkloric dance group, and then they showed the Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs boxing match after the game. The big promotion of the day was the Super Clásico Leyendas match that happened before the USL match. They did bring in a larger mostly Hispanic crowd. Most of which only came for the first match. About a third of the crowd was gone by the start of the Reno vs Tulsa match. About half the crowd was gone by the 60th minute. From what I understand they want to continue to do this in future years. Shortly after the match Reno 1868 FC also announced that they would be playing the Club America U20 team.

These accessional boost in attendance that is seen when catering to the Hispanic crowd are not bad. They boost revenue for the team and help it grow in popularity. I personally enjoy having larger crowds. With a larger crowd, the atmosphere is just better. With all the extra things going on it makes the game more enjoyable overall. The problem with what this is that the team has been unable to get fans who come to these games to invest in the team. I think that not going all out every game on promotion and events taking place during the game is a contributing factor to not getting investment from these fans. I also think the lack of going all out by the team is a contributing factor in the overall attendance issue. With entire months where Reno only has one home game (April, May), there is no reason that they couldn’t have gone all out as they did for this last match.

Getting into the Reno vs Tulsa game, I had mixed feelings on this one. This season it really feels like we have a 50/50 chance with each match. I think Tulsa is the better team. At least the standings show that to be true. Most of the conversation going into this one was about the situation with Fabian Bastidas. It didn’t really cross my mind that Reno was undefeated against Tulsa. I think that it might have been a factor in the minds of some of the players who have been with the team since the beginning. Most of my thoughts going into this match where mostly about trying to go and have as much fun as possible.

What happened in the first half?

I don’t think there was much of a feeling out process by either team to start the game. The way both teams started the game it was like they had already been playing for 30 minutes. Reno’s Corey Hertzog would open up the scoring with a goal in the 29th minute. It was a solid effort from Reno. Reno had 4 or so guys in and around the box at that time. Brent Richards did a good job to open up space so he could get a pass into the box. It looked like the pass was meant for Brian Brown. He was being heavily guarded at that point. One defender was on top of him while another was coming over. Brown just taped it with his foot to get the ball over to Hertzog. Hertzog had enough space to get off a shot and put it in the back of the net. He was able to get this space because Brown drew in the defenders.

It was excellent aweless by everyone involved in the play. First to draw the defenders to Brown, then to get the ball to Hertzog. I think it was a good play by the team overall. They did something that they have been struggling to do. That is getting the team to move up on offense and getting enough guys in the box. I really like what Brown did. I think the defenders did the right thing in that situation. I think that you want to double team Brown in the box. I think that Brown’s situational awareness was just too good at that moment for Tulsa to handle.
Tulsa would respond. Janu Silva would score in the 37th minute. Moses Makinde would get the ball along the wing. He would put it in the box. Janu Silva was able to get the ball despite being defended. He was able to put it in the back of the net pretty easily as the keeper was out of position.

There was a series of bad choices made by the Reno defense. Ultimately I do think it was JT Marcinkowski’s fault that the goal went in. The first mistake the Reno defense made was that they were slow to react. I get what the defense was doing. They were trying to hold there line. That’s fine, but as soon as Makinde got the ball they should have gone back. I get that one of the other Tulsa players was offsides, but as soon as Makinde gets the ball that does not matter anymore. The second mistake is that they were slow to get back. On replays, it looks like only a few of them made any effort to defend the box. This is disappointing for the team as a whole.  It shows that when they get defeated or make a mistake at the start of a defensive play they don’t rush to try and win the play.

JT Marcinkowski in this play had to not only react to what Tulsa was doing but he also had to react to what his defense had done. It looked like his reaction would be to try to get the ball so Tulsa couldn’t get a shot off. In my opinion, he didn’t have time to do that. I think he should have gotten in position to make Silva take a difficult shot. I think this is the best move especial since Silva had already gotten behind the defense. Going down to get the ball puts any keeper in a situation where if the attacking player gets it first he can just chip it around or over for an easy goal. When Marcinkowski went down he also was in the wrong position to get the ball. His legs were wide open. Anyway, I think that he made the wrong discussion in reaction to what was going on and he was in the wrong position. It was a good job by Tulsa to take advantage of this.
In stoppage time, Corey Hertzog would score again. Lindo Mfeka would take a shot inside the box. The ball would roll off of the keeper to right in front of Hertzog. With an open net and no one in front of him, he would shoot from about a yard out. The goal would come with some controversy. It would be questioned, was he offsides? I think he was. He was behind all of the defenders and in front of the ball. I do think it would have gone in anyway. The ball was rolling towards the net when he tapped it in. Should it have counted? no. He touched it. He was offsides. Whether it was going to go in or not doesn’t matter. But they counted it.

It was a highly entertaining half as both teams scored. Both teams were really pushing to score the whole half. Reno getting a lead just before halftime was about the most exciting thing that could have happened.

What happened in the second half?

To start off there was a yellow card given in the 55th minute to Manny Gonzalez. It’s not in any of the highlights I have seen. So I have not seen a replay. It was a hard foul. It gathered a crowd. Every player on the field gathered to that one spot. The reason I wanted to bring this up is that after the whistle blew, one of the Tulsa players came over to the area and two-handed pushed one of the Reno players down to the ground. Fans got upset because no cards were given. Because I haven’t seen a replay I don’t know which players did it. I just wanted to bring it up because I think it was an important part of the game.

Tulsa would score the games last goal at the 60th minute tying the game. The play starts out with a long ball from beyond the half line. Before the ball gets to its intended target, Tulsa has two guys who are at least 10 yards offsides. Rodrigo Da Costa would get the ball and would go one on one with Marcinkowski. He would score. The Reno defenders were pissed. They immediately threw their hands up. They were yelling at the linesman. The whole crowd was yelling.

I don’t know why it wasn’t called. Its the worst no call I have seen all year. There was an argument that was made that it wasn’t called because the other goal was offsides. This argument is dumb. Firstly there is a huge difference between being offsides by a yard and being offsides by 10 yards. Secondly (and the real reason I don’t think it was called) is that the linesman was away from the play. During the game, it looked like he was a good 5 to 10 yards from where he should have been. During the replay, he does look closer to his line.  Almost the entire play he was running back to see what was going on. I do not think that a linesman can make an accurate call on a play when he has to run back to see the play. But during a similar play in the first half, he did make the offsides call. So who knows why it wasn’t called.
Both teams would get a few more chances before the end of the half. Neither would score.

Referee thoughts

Overall it wasn’t the worst performance I have seen by referee’s so far this season. There were some no calls like that one to start the first half. The referee did not do a bad job himself. He had an average performance. One of the no calls I did not like was during one of the Tulsa corner kicks in the first half. One of the Tulsa players got into Marcinkowski’s face. I could hear what the exchange was. The Tulsa player looked like how hockey players do when they get ready to fight. This also stood out to me as there were no other players around Marcinkowski at that time. Usually what I have seen when this happens is that the referee will come in and get that player away from the goalie. While some of the calls and no calls where questionable, I had no real issue with the referee. My issue is with the linesman. I have already gotten into some detail about it so I’m going to summarize. My issue with the linesman is the 2 offsides goals and that he wasn’t keeping his line. That being said it was only one linesman, the other one did a good job.

After match thoughts

This match was a lot of fun to attend. There was a lot of build up and the game itself was entertaining. Where did Reno go right? On offense. The first goal had a beautiful setup. The second goal was a strong team play. On both those plays, Reno did things that they have struggled to do so far this season. Things like getting the ball down the field quickly, getting players to move up on offense, getting enough players in the box and good situational awareness. It’s good to see them improving on these fronts. Where did Reno go wrong? Defense. Their defense has been killing them this season. Wheatear that’s key mistakes that cost them goals, or just not reacting to the situation, the defense has struggled. This game was no different. It’s disappointing that they have not made the same improvements on defense that they have on offense. I think that if they did the team would be a top 4 team.

Current standings

1. New Mexico United
2. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
3. Portland Timbers 2
4. OKC Energy FC
5. LA Galaxy 2
7. Reno
1. New York Red Bulls 2
2. Saint Louis FC
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies
4. North Carolina FC
5. Charleston Battery

Next match

Saturday May 11, 2019. In Sacramento. At Papa Murphy’s park. This week 10 match is the first Donner Pass Derby game of the 2019 season. It should be a good one. Plenty of Reno fans will be making the trip.

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