Reno 1868 FC hosted Sacramento Republic FC for the fourth and final match of the 2020 Donner Pass Derby. This match took place on Saturday, September 26, 2020. The venue for this match was Greater Nevada Field. Sacramento secured the 2020 Donner Pass Derby after the third match ended in a draw. Sacramento won the first two matches by a score of 1-0. In both of the first two matches, Sacramento’s goals came on penalty kicks. Both teams were battling for first place in group a going into this match. Reno had a 5-point (2 wins) lead on Sacramento. If Reno won this match it would secure winning group a.
All I was thinking about going into this match was that I wanted Reno to win. We had already lost the Derby. If we won this game at least we would have beaten Sacramento once this season. I thought it would also be great to win the group and beat our rivals at the same time. Going into this match I thought Reno needed to improve their defense for the last game in this series. Reno has done well to get scoring chances. Even against Sacramento. I didn’t think there was any way Reno would win if the defense broke down as they did in the previous game against Sacramento. Reno needed to be able to establish their game as well. Reno wasn’t able to establish their game against Sacramento in any of the prior games this season. If Reno can’t establish their game and stop Sacramento on defense then Reno wouldn’t be able to win the game.
For Sacramento to win they needed to keep Reno out of the net. I figured they were going to do this by giving Reno bad opportunities. Pushing Reno to the wing was something that they had done a lot of in this series. I thought they wouldn’t let Reno attack straight on. I thought they wouldn’t give Reno enough space to take a center shot. Sacramento also let Reno stay in the game in the last match. Reno was able to bring the game level in extra time. Letting Reno stay in the game and build momentum is something that has burned Sacramento before. If they were going to walk away with a win they couldn’t let Reno stay in the game.
My prediction was a 3-2 Reno victory. Based on what happened already in the series I figured anything can happen in this game. I still thought if either team had an advantage it would only be by a single goal.
I was going to do the 1868 Now pregame show like normal. However, I ended up getting locked out of my car. By the time I got in, I didn’t have time to do an episode like I normally do. Instead, I ended up doing a short episode on my way from my car to the stadium.
What Happened In The First Half
5’ minute Sergio Rivas of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
21’ minute Rodrigo Lopez of Sacramento Republic FC received a yellow card.
44’ minute Reno took a 1-0 lead. Brent Richards scored the goal. Christiano Francois got the assist. The ball was crossed from about half to Richards. Richards was above the box on the wing. He faked crossing the ball to get around his defender. with another defender putting pressure on him, He passed the ball into the box from the top of the box. The ball went in between the two Sacramento defenders. Corey Hertzog was on the receiving end of the pass. Under pressure from three Sacramento defenders, he crossed the ball to the other side of the box. Francois had space. He was able to head the ball toward Richards while pressure was coming. Richards headed the ball into the back of the net.
On this play, all of the Sacramento defenders in the box were watching Hertzog. I counted seven. None of the defenders in the box knew Francois was open. It was good on Hertzog to recognize that Francois was open and had space. By the time Francois headed the ball, there was nothing Sacramento could do.
45+1’ minute Foster Langsdorf of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card for dissent.
What Happened In The Second Half
50’ minute Tony Alfaro of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card for dissent.
51’ minute Sacramento brought the game back to level at 1-1. Dekel Keinan scored the goal. Juan Barahona got the assist. In the 50’ minute a corner kick was called. The ball went off the keeper but was tipped by Villyan Bijev out of bounce in an attempt to put away the rebound. Tony Alfaro got the yellow card for arguing the call but half of the Reno players who were on the pitch argued or showed frustration at the call. Barahona crossed the ball on the corner. Keinan headed the ball into the net after the cross.
52’ minute Tomas Hillard-Arce of Sacramento Republic FC received a yellow card.
58’ minute Corey Hertzog of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card for argument. I’m pretty sure that means he argued with the ref.
83’ minute Jamie Villarreal of Sacramento Republic FC received a yellow card.
90+3’ minute Darisz Formella of Sacramento Republic FC received a yellow card.
90+5’ minute the match ends in a 1-1 draw.
The reefing thought this series has been trash. This game was no exception. The refs dictated the outcome in three if not all four games of this series. The corner kick call in the 50’ minute of this game was the worst call a ref can make. It was the wrong call. The call lead to a goal. That goal changed the outcome of the game. The call in the 50’ minute directly lead to the outcome of the game. this also wasn’t the only time the refs were wrong about a corner kick in this game. Would Sacramento have tied the game anyway? It doesn’t matter. That could be argued both ways all day. What matters is that the ref determined the outcome of the match. It’s not the ref’s job to decide who wins the game. It’s the ref’s job to make sure both sides are following the rules. It should be his job to make sure teams win on their ability to do so.
Throughout most of the match, I found it was hard for Reno to build any type of momentum. As soon as Reno would start to build up some kind of momentum a foul would be called. It seemed like the ref was working against Reno for large portions of the match. In the 83’ minute, Reno was awarded a free-kick. The foul came at least two or three yards inside of the box. The free-kick still came from outside of the box. In the 90+3’ minute offside was called on Aiden Apodaca. He had a clear shot to the net. The ball was a good 2 yards in front of him before he moved behind Sacramento’s backline. The refs not only gave Sacramento the goal to tie the game they denied Reno the chance to go up. I give the refs a 1 out of 10 for this match. They at least made sure the players didn’t get mad at each other by making everyone on the field just mad at the refs.
September, 26, 2020
After Match Thoughts
Sacramento took advantage of the poor refereeing again. It’s not surprising. Going down on soft fouls and being overly aggressive on fouls is what they do. They have always been a dirty team. At least as long as I have watched them. It gives them an advantage. If another team is building up momentum or trying to establish their game, all they have to do is flop or foul to get a stoppage. The stoppage interrupts the flow of the game. whatever advantage the other team had is gone. This hurt Reno as because of it they could establish playing how they wanted too.
The goal in the 51’ minute killed whatever energy Reno had going into the second half. Goals that are a direct result of a poor decision made by the ref are defeating. It hurts because Sacramento didn’t tie the game based on their ability. They didn’t outwork Reno to score. They didn’t work for it they have gifted it. Goals scored like that are especially tough to overcome. It is really easy to think about not only the other team being against you but the ref being against you as well. it’s easy to dwell on goals like this and it’s hard to move past. It didn’t seem like Reno was able to move past this goal. Other factors later on in the game made it hard to move past this goal as well.
Reno hasn’t beaten Sacramento since June 29, 2019. It has been disappointment after disappointment when facing Sacramento since then. They eliminated Reno from the playoffs in 2019. That game hurt for a lot of reasons on and off the pitch. This is a potential playoff matchup. Reno did not play like a playoff team in this match. Moving forward Reno needs to continue to work on their defense. They also need to work on establishing their game verse tougher opponents. Reno only has two games left to work out their kinks before the playoffs.
Current Group A Standings
September, 28, 2020
Reno 1868 FC (32pts)
Sacramento Republic FC (27pts)
Tacoma Defiance (11pts)
Portland Timbers 2 (9pts)
Reno 1868 FC will host the Las Vegas Lights FC on Wednesday. This will be the final match of the 2020 Silver State Cup. Reno won the first match back on August 1, 2020. Reno won that match 1-0. If Reno walks away with a win or draws they will walk away as the winners of the 2020 Silver State Cup. If Reno wins and Sacramento Loses or draws with Tacoma Reno will win group a. The venue for this match is Greater Nevada Field. Kickoff is currently set 6:30 pm.