The USL Championship season resumed on Saturday. With the first weekend in the books for the USL Championship, Reno 1868 FC looks to its first game this upcoming Sunday. Reno will be getting the season going again after nearly three months of not playing. In this blog, I will be taking a look at what the rest of the season will look like for Reno.
Breaking Down Reno 1868 FC’s 2020 Schedule
Getting To Know Group A
A Quick Look At: USL Return To Play
Sacramento Republic FC (Donner Pass Derby)
Reno 1868 FC will start their return to play in Sacramento to face the Sacramento Republic FC for their Group A opening match. This will be the first leg of this year’s Donner Pass Derby. Reno is the current Donner Pass Derby champion. Reno has won the derby with the Sacramento Republic two years in a row. Reno went 2-1-0 against Sacramento in 2019. Reno won the derby last season by a score of 7 to 4 throughout 3 games. Reno is 5-2-1 versus Sacramento. Sacramento finished last season 7th in the west. Sacramento will be moving up to MLS in 2022.
Reno 1868 FC will play Sacramento Republic FC in Sacramento on July 19. Reno and Sacramento will face off for a total of 4 times this season. Twice in Sacramento and twice in Reno. Reno will play Sacramento at home on August 12. That game will be followed up with a game in Sacramento on September 12. The final for the Donner Pass Derby will take place on September 26.
Portland Timbers 2
For their second game, Reno 1868 FC is set to travel to Portland to take on the Portland Timbers 2. The Portland Timbers 2 are competing in Group A with Reno. Reno went 1-1-0 verses Portland in 2019. Reno is currently 6-1-1 versus the Portland Timbers 2. Portland finished the 2019 season 14th in the west. Portland Timbers 2 is owned by the Portland Timbers.
Reno 1868 FC will start their return to play series with Portland Timbers 2 on July 26. Just like Sacramento Republic FC because Portland is in Group A Reno will play them twice at home and twice away. Games played in Reno will be on August 15, and September 5. The series final will be played in Portland on September 26.
Reno 1868 FC will take on Tacoma Defiance for their first home game during not just return to play but for the 2020 season. Reno has already beat Tacoma in Tacoma for both teams’ first game of the season. Reno went 1-0-1 verses Tacoma in 2019 which includes a 5-0 win. Reno is 3-0-3 against Tacoma Defiance. Tacoma finished 2019 second to last in the west. Tacoma is affiliated with the Seattle Sounders.
Reno 1868 FC will start the series vs Tacoma Defiance at home on August 8. Tacoma is another Group A team but Reno will only face them 3 times unlike the other teams in the group. The second time Reno will take on Tacoma will be on August 19 in Tacoma. The series final is the last regular-season game for Reno which is set for October 3 in Reno.
Las Vegas Lights FC (Silver State Cup)
Reno 1868 FC will face Las Vegas Lights FC for the first time in 2020 for Reno’s third game for return to play. This will be the first leg of the Silver State Cup. Reno went 2-0-0 and allowed zero goals against Las Vegas in 2019. Reno is currently back to back Silver State Cup champions. Reno’s Record in the Silver State Cup is currently 3-0-2. Las Vegas missed the 2019 playoffs by 6 points (2 wins). They finished their season in 13th place.
The Silver State Cup will start on August 1. That game will take place in Las Vegas. Reno 1868 FC will be playing the Las Vegas Lights twice during the regular season. Las Vegas is not in Group A with Reno. The Silver State Cup final will take place on September 30 in Reno.
San Diego Loyal SC
Reno 1868 FC and San Diego Loyal SC will face off for one match. Neither team is in the same group. Both teams are doing this to fill out their regional game schedule. Reno did play San Diego during the preseason. San Diego played twice before the season was suspended. San Diego drew with Las Vegas Lights FC and beat Tacoma Defiance. San Diego did win their first game of return to play beating the Real Monarchs SLC 1-0. San Diego is a new team for 2020. It will be nice to see how they do in 2020. Hopefully, they can pull together a competitive team for the season. The Reno 1868 FC vs San Diego Loyal SC match is set for August 22 in San Diego.
Phoenix Rising FC
Reno 1868 FC will take on Phoenix Rising FC for one match in 2020. Again, neither team is in the same group and both teams are doing this to fill out their regional game schedule. Reno went 0-2-0 verses Phoenix in 2019. I hope that this trend won’t continue in 2020. Reno is 1-3-2 all-time versus Phoenix. Phoenix finished first in the west in 2019. Despite being heavily favored to win the cup they were eliminated in the second round. The Reno 1868 FC and Phoenix Rising FC match will take place in Reno on August 29.
This schedule is not a bad one for Reno 1868 FC. If the trends of previous years continue Reno should walk away as winners of the group. At this point, no one is favored to win anything. It’s been three months since Reno or anyone has played. A team that might have started the season off well otherwise might play horribly. I think we’ll know how the season will look four or five games in. It’s just everything at this point is a toss-up.
As far as having fans at games, here in Nevada it just took a major step back as the government shut down bars and is enforcing different regulations each week. It’s a bad situation for the team as if they do anything (have any type of event) right now the governor will get upset and won’t allow fans to attend events at all for the rest of 2020. We’re still a few weeks out from our first home game so anything could happen.
What I’m looking forward to the most from this schedule is September 26 and 30. Those are both home games. The 26 is the final for the Donner Pass Derby. The 30 is the final for the Silver State Cup. Having two derby finals in a week is something to be excited about. Having the Donner Pass Derby final being a potential round one playoff preview is huge. If we are allowed to have fans for those matches it will make those matches something that the whole soccer community in Reno will never forget.