As part of the USL Championship return to play, the league announced on June 25th that Reno will be playing in Group A. Group A is made up of the north-western USL Championship teams. Playing alongside Reno 1868 FC are the Portland Timbers 2, Sacramento Republic FC, and Tacoma Defiance. Play for the USL Championship is set to return on July 11th. I will have another blog post covering how the USL Championship will return to play. In this post, I will be looking in-depth at Group A.
Portland Timbers 2
Portland Timbers 2 are based in Portland Oregon. They are the reserve squad for the Portland Timbers of the MLS. In the 2019 USL Championship season, they had 10 wins, 16 losses and 8 draws (10-16-8) finishing 14th in the western conference. They did not qualify for the playoffs. They were not eligible for the US Open Cup. They have only played in one match so far in 2020. That match was a 1-6 loss to Phoenix Rising FC.
Portland Timbers 2 have only qualified for the playoffs once. The did that after finishing 8th in 2018 (one spot behind Reno). They would lose in the conference quarterfinals (round one). That game was a 0-3 loss to Phoenix Rising FC.
Reno 1868 FC played their first game against Portland Timbers 2 on June 24, 2017. That game was a 2-0 win in Portland. Reno would draw with Portland on July 22, 2017, in Reno to finish out the 2017 series vs Portland at 1-0-1. In 2018 Reno would win again in Portland. This time 2-1. For the second match, Portland would come to Reno. Reno won that 1-0. Reno traveled to Portland one last time in 2018 to take a 2-0 win. Reno took the 2018 series 3-0-0. In 2019 Reno would play Portland twice. Reno would take a 2-1 win in Portland and a 1-3 loss in Reno. The 2019 series ended in a draw with both teams winning one game.
Reno 1868 FC is 6-1-1 all team vs Portland Timbers 2. Reno is 2-1-1 at home and 4-0-0 away.
Reno 1868 FC
As we all know Reno 1868 FC is Northern Nevada’s professional soccer team. They do have an affiliation agreement with the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS. During the 2019 USL Championship season, Reno had 16 wins, 10 losses, and 6 draws finishing 2nd in the western conference. Reno has only played one game during the 2020 season. That game was a 3-1 win vs Tacoma Defiance. That game was played in Tacoma.
Reno 1868 FC hasn’t done well in the US Open Cup. Reno has 2 wins and 3 losses in the US Open Cup. Reno’s first win (5/17/17) was against Olympic Soccer Academy. Olympic Soccer Academy competes in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The game ended in a tie at 1-1. Reno ended up winning 3-4 on penalty kicks. Reno’s only other US Open Cup win was in 2018 vs the Portland Timbers u-23’s. Portland Timbers U-23’s compete in the Premier Development League (PDL). That game was a 7-3 win in Reno. All three of Reno’s US Open Cup losses have been against Sacramento Republic FC. 0-2 in Reno in 2017. 0-1 in Sacramento in 2018. 0-1 in Sacramento in 2019.
Reno 1868 FC has made the USL Championship playoffs in all three of its previous seasons. In 2017 Reno would lose 0-1 vs OKC Energy FC in the conference quarterfinals (first round). That game lives on in infamy because a fan threw something that cut an opposing player in the face. In 2018 Reno beat the Real Monarchs SLC 1-0 in the conference quarterfinals (first round). That game took place in Salt Lake City. Reno would lose to Orange County SC 0-1 in the conference semifinals (second round). That game took place in Orange County. In 2019 Reno would lose 1-3 vs Sacramento Republic FC in the conference quarterfinals (first round). That game took place in Reno.
Sacramento Republic FC
Sacramento Republic FC is a professional soccer team based out of Sacramento California. They are currently working to become an MLS team. The MLS announced in 2019 that Sacramento will move to the MLS in 2022 with the completion of a new stadium. In 2019 Sacramento had 14 wins, 14 losses, and drew 6 times finishing 7th in the western conference. Sacramento has only played one game this season and that was a 1-1 draw with FC Tulsa.
Sacramento Republic FC made it to the 4th round of the US Open cup in 2014. Sacramento lost to the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS 1-2 in the 4th round. In 2015 Sacramento made it back to the 4th round. Sacramento lost to the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS 5-6 on penalty kicks. In 2016 Sacramento finished the US Open Cup in the 3rd round. In the 3rd round, Sacramento lost 1-3 to the Kitspa Pumas of the PDL. In 2017 Sacramento would make it to the 5th round where they lost 0-2 to the LA Galaxy. In 2018, they made it back to the 5th round where they lost 2-3 to Los Angeles FC. In 2019 Sacramento made it to the 4th round. In the 4th round, they lost 3-4 to the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS.
Sacramento Republic FC won the USL Championship in 2014. They played the Harrisburg City Islanders and won the game 2-0 in Sacramento. In 2015, they lost to the LA Galaxy 2 in the first round. In 2016 after winning the western conference Sacramento lost to the Orange County Blues FC in the first round. The game would end in a 0-0 draw and Sacramento lost on penalty kicks 4-5. In 2017 lost to the Swoope Park Rangers 0-1 in the conference semifinals (second round). In 2018 Sacramento would lose to Swoope Park 2-1 in the conference quarterfinals (first round). In 2019 Sacramento lost 0-3 to El Paso Locomotive FC in the conference semifinals (second round).
The rivalry between Reno 1868 FC and Sacramento Republic FC goes back before Reno 1868 FC had a name. Before Reno 1868 FC existence, a pair of Sacramento friendly matches were held in Reno. During one of these matches, a flag from the Battle Born Brigade (Reno supporters) was stolen by the Tower Bridge Battalion (Sacramento supporters). The flag was stolen back when the Tower Bridge Battalion brought it to the first Reno 1868 FC vs Sacramento Republic FC match. After that, the rivalry was given the name Donner Pass Derby after the Donner Pass, which is now the stretch of road between Reno and Sacramento.
In 2017 Reno beat Sacramento both in Reno and in Sacramento in USL play. Reno did lose to Sacramento during the US Open Cup. In 2018 Reno won the match in Sacramento by scoring 3 goals in 5 minutes in the second half. Sacramento would win the match in Reno. Sacramento also defeated Reno in the US Open Cup. In 2019 Reno won 4-1 in Sacramento. A few days later Reno lost to Sacramento in the US Open Cup during heavy rain. Reno would also lose to Sacramento in the first round of the playoffs. Reno would beat Sacramento 2-0 in Reno. Reno is 5-1-1 vs Sacramento all time. Reno has won the Donner Pass Derby twice in 2017 and 2019 and drawn once in 2018 (during a draw the cup stays with the team who won it the previous year).
The Tacoma Defiance are the reserve team for the MLS side Seattle Sounders FC. The Defiance play in Tacoma Washington. They were formally the Seattle Sounders 2. They became the defiance in 2019. In 2019 Tacoma had 8 wins, 7 losses and 19 draws to finish 17th in the west. They did not qualify for the playoffs or the US Open Cup. They have played one game so far in 2020. They lost that game to Reno 1868 FC with a score of 1-3.
Tacoma hasn’t qualified for the US Open Cup since 2015 where they lost to Real Salt Lake 2-1. Tacoma hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 either. They lost 2-0 in the first round to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Tacoma has also not won more than 9 games in a season since 2015.
Tacoma Defiance first took on Reno 1868 FC as the Seattle Sounders 2. In 2017 Reno won 6-0 and drew 1-1. In 2018 Reno drew Seattle 1-1 and won 2-1. In 2019 Reno drew Tacoma 1-1 and beat Tacoma 5-0. Reno’s record vs Seattle/Tacoma is 4-0-3.