Reno 1868 FC hosted Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. This was the second match of the Donner Pass Derby. Kickoff was at 7:30 pm. Sacramento won the first match in Sacramento back in July. Reno was coming off of a win versus Tacoma Defiance. and a three-game winning streak. Sacramento was coming off of a win against Portland Timbers 2.
Reno needed to keep playing with the same energy they have been leading up to this game. Reno was doing a lot right on offense. Reno’s goalkeeping was doing a solid job. I didn’t want Reno to revert to playing how they did last time in Sacramento. I didn’t think they would. I just brought it up because it’s something that could happen. Fatigue was also going to be a factor in this game. Both teams played Saturday. That gave them only 3 days to rest before this match. Sacramento also had to travel during that time from Portland back to Sacramento before traveling to Reno. I thought whoever was going to capitalize on the other team’s fatigue was going to win the match. I also thought Reno was motivated for this match. They did lose the last match against Sacramento. I thought they might use that to their advantage.
What Happened In The First Half
14’ minute Ben Beaury made a beautiful diving save to his left. The shot came from well outside the box. There was no pressure from Sacramento. No one was in the box when he made the save.
15’ Sacramento took a corner kick. The ball came into the box. The ball went over everyone. Drew Skundrich of Sacramento was able to get the ball. His shot was saved by Ben Beaury. Brent Richards blocked the rebound attempt.
21’ minute Jordan McCrary of Sacramento received a yellow card.
24’ minute Brent Richards or Reno took the ball down the pitch. He passed it to Tucker Bone. Bone was under pressure from two Sacramento defenders. Bone was able to get a through ball to Corey Hertzog who was standing in the middle just above the 6-yard box. Hertzog took a shot but it was straight on the keeper. The keeper did come out and was aggressive in blocking the shot. The rebound landed in front of Christiano Francois. He had pressure coming from behind. He took a quick shot. The shot hit the keeper square on.
34’ minute Corey Hertzog of Reno got the ball inside the box. He was able to get around his defender. Under pressure from two Sacramento players, he got the shot off. The shot beat the keeper. The ball hit the crossbar and came out. Christiano Francois got the rebound again. He took a quick one-touch shot despite having plenty of time and space. The shot sailed over the net.
38’ minute Hayden Sargiss of Sacramento received a yellow card.
45’ minute Sacramento won a penalty kick. The replay still makes me mad. I can’t even watch it. The ball went up. When it came down Thomas Janjigian cleared the ball. Cameron Iwasa threw himself on the ground during the play. The ref called a penalty kick despite Janjigian never touching Iwasa.
45+2’ minute Sacramento’s Villyan Bijev scored on the penalty kick. Ben Beaury dove the right way but just wasn’t quick enough.
What Happened In The Second Half
56’ minute’ Dekel Keinan of Sacramento got a yellow card.
60’ minute a handball was called on Dekel Keinan of Sacramento. He was defiantly in the box. The ref said he wasn’t though. Reno took the free-kick outside of the box.
61’ minute Reno took the free-kick. Ayrton Statie took the kick. He put it right on net. It almost went in.
71’ minute Villyan Bijev of Sacramento received a yellow card.
75’ minute Rodrigo Lopez of Sacramento received a yellow card.
80’ minute Kevin Partida of Reno received a yellow card.
82’ minute Mouhamed Dabo received a yellow card.
The final was 1-0 Sacramento.
There are a lot of things I want to say about this ref that I shouldn’t. The penalty kick was a bad call. The handball call was bad because the Sacramento player was clearly in the box. The sideline ref was even past the top line of the box. What I’ve noticed lately with the USL Championship refs (besides their incompetence) is that if the ref is behind the play or parallel to the players they will not make the right call. I don’t like VAR but this game is a good case study in why the USL Championship needs it. I don’t think leagues like the Primer League need it. I think those refs are competent enough to call a good game. I also don’t think any league should get rid of the human element of the referees. From a league at this level, this is unacceptable and I think VAR would help get the league back to be more respectable. There is barely any consistency with the refereeing (besides knowing it’s going to be bad). Each game is called differently. There is also a lack of fairness to how the USL Championship games are called. I’ve seen it happen time and time again where one team gets everything called their way and the other team can’t ever get a call unless it’s meaningless. The USL championship won’t get better referees. US Soccer and FIFA are too screwed up for that. I think the appropriate call is to implement VAR for the 2021 season. MLS has it so why not USL Championship. This game gets a 0/10 ref score because it makes me want VAR.
After Match Thoughts
Like I say almost every time the ref can’t make a call to save his life, it’s not entirely the ref’s fault. He did play a part in it but ultimately it comes down to Reno not being able to put the ball in the net. Reno had plenty of chances to put the game away. Even before Sacramento was awarded the penalty kick that won them the game. Reno just couldn’t find the back of the net. They kept putting the ball over the net. It seemed like they were trying to put the ball crossbar down with every shot.
Unfortunately, this game ended up where I didn’t want it too. Reno reverted to playing how they did in Sacramento. Not completely because they did play with better energy. However, they did go back to having a lot of chances and not scoring. Fatigue wasn’t as big of a factor as I thought it would be. It did become a factor later in the game but it seemed that neither team capitalized on it.
Reno didn’t score early. I think that ended up costing them the game. If they could have scored before the penalty kick it would have been a completely different game. I think Reno might have dominated the game. Up to that point, Reno had been dominating the game they just failed to put the ball in the net. I do think the game changed after the penalty kick. Reno was playing like they weren’t thinking things through. They looked like they were rushing. That affects things like shot selection, how good opportunities are, and the time players have to prepare for the play. For example, if a player rushes to take a shot, their head might be down (which affects the aim), and they might not hit it right.
Sacramento did score first. That seems to be the only way that they have been able to beat Reno. They didn’t need to score more than one. However, I don’t think they could. I don’t think they would have scored if they weren’t handed a goal via a penalty kick.
Despite having 12 shots they didn’t have too many opportunities to score. As far as letting Reno use speed, they didn’t take away Reno’s speed. More or less they sat back and tried to double team the player with the ball. At least that’s what I saw.
Moving forward Reno needs to put this one behind them. They don’t have time to dwell on this game. They play again on Saturday. Their focus should be on that and return to their form from last week. The big issue I saw for Reno in this game was shot selection. They need to do better on that and ill think they’ll put a few in the back of the net next time. As far as the Donner Pass Derby goes Sacramento now has a 2-0 lead. If Reno is going to win the derby they will have to win the remaining two games and beat Sacramento on the aggrieved score. I think Sacramento will be our first-round playoff match. I think if Reno is going to advance past the first round they will have to play better against Sacramento.
Current Group A Standings
August, 13, 2020
Reno 1868 FC (12pts)
Sacramento Republic FC (12pts)
Tacoma Defiance (7pts)
Portland Timbers 2 (0pts)
Reno 1868 FC will host Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Reno is 1-0 so far vs Portland in 2020. There will still be no fans inside the stadium for this game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.