On Wednesday, Reno 1868 FC hosted Las Vegas Lights FC for the final match of the 2020 Silver State Cup. Reno won the first match back in August with a score of 1-0. If Reno managed to get a win or draw in this match Reno would win the Silver State Cup. Las Vegas would have to win by two goals or more to win the cup. Reno won the cup in the previous two seasons. Las Vegas also came into this match having not scored on Reno in 739 days after having not scored on Reno in 2019 or the first match Against Reno in 2020.
This match was also a chance for Reno to win group a. Reno was leading group a by five points (2 wins) going into this match with only two games left in the season. If Reno won the match they would be group a champions. If Reno lost the match and Sacramento won their match with Tacoma, Sacramento would still have a chance to win group a.
This match took place in Reno at Greater Nevada Field. The scheduled kickoff was 630 pm. Kickoff was originally delayed to 730 pm due to poor air quality caused by smoke. The match was further delayed to 800 pm. The game did start around 800 pm.
For the last three weeks emphasis has been put on Reno winning all remaining matches to have the best record in the league. If Reno has the best record in the league then they will have the home advantage through the entire playoffs. That is as long as they remain in the playoffs. Reno needed to work on their defense after their last two matches. Reno did not look like a playoff team in Saturdays match verse Sacramento. They just had too many defensive breakdowns. It has been a problem for Reno in multiple matches this season. For Reno to win this match they needed to sharpen up on defense.
I didn’t see Las Vegas as much of a threat to Reno. They haven’t been a threat to their group. They haven’t been a threat in the past. The only thing that was somewhat concerning the amount of time between the first match and this match. The first match was at the beginning of the season. This match was at the end of the season. A lot has changed for both teams since that first match. This was Reno’s last non-group match. It was pretty much a guessing game to figure out what was going to happen in this match.
I didn’t do an episode of 1868 Now (Reno 1868 FC pregame show). I thought I was going to be able to do it. Then the match got delayed. Then my plans changed and the next thing I knew the match was starting.
What Happened In The First Half
8’ minute Tony Alfaro of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
9’ minute Las Vegas scored. The goal was scored by former Reno 1868 FC player Junior Burgos. The goal was unassisted. The foul in the 8’ minute gave Las Vegas a free-kick. The free-kick was about a yard outside of the box center to the goal. Burgos shot the ball into the corner on the right side of the keeper.
12’ minute Reno Responded. Foster Langsdof got the goal. Sergio Rivas got the assist. The ball was crossed into the box. Rivas got behind the Las Vegas backline to get the ball in the box. Rivas put the ball on net. Langsdof redirected the ball from inside the 6-yard box into a wide-open net.
17’ minute Kevin Partida of Reno 1868 FC drew a foul in the penalty area that resulted in a penalty kick being awarded.
19’ minute Corey Hertzog took the penalty kick. His shot was saved. He tried to go low corner to the right of the keeper.
25’ minute Las Vegas took the lead again. Yamikani Chester scored the goal. Mobi Fehr got the assist. Las Vegas took a shot from outside of the box that was blocked. The rebound was tipped by Fehr while under pressure. Chester got to the ball with space and took a shot. His shot went high and to the left of the keeper. the shot was out of reach of the keeper and went in.
28′ minute Kevin Partida of Reno 1868 FC scored on a penalty kick to being the game level.
What Happened In The Second Half
57’ minute Seth Moses of Las Vegas Lights FC received a yellow card.
70’ minute Mobi Fehr of Las Vegas Lights FC received a yellow card.
74’ minute Grant Robinson of Las Vegas Lights FC received a yellow card.
81’ minute Aidan Apodaca of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
90+5’ minute Johnny Fenwick of Las Vegas Lights FC received a yellow card.
90+8’ minute the match ends in a 2-2 draw.
I think the refereeing for this match was ok. It was a lot better than in Saturday’s match with Sacramento. I didn’t see any major missed calls. In the first half, I think the ref called the game about even. At this point calling a game even is all that anyone can hope for in the USL Championship. Towards the end of the match, it did seem like the ref was leaning towards making calls in favor of Las Vegas. There were multiple times in extra time the ref could have made calls for time-wasting. At the end of the day, the refereeing was about average for the USL Championship. I give the ref a 5 out of 10 for this match.
September, 30, 2020
After Match Thoughts
Reno was able to continue their reign as Silver State Cup Champions for a third straight year. Reno also won group a at the same time. Those things should be celebrated. Reno worked for it and deserves admiration for their accomplishments so far this season. I don’t like how this was the match that won it for them. Reno underperformed in this match. Unfortunately, we can’t dwell on the team’s accomplishments too much as we have to look forward to the playoffs.
The defense let Reno down in this match. Reno gave Las Vegas too much room to get by Reno. On the first goal, Reno gave up the foul in the defensive third. The foul spot was also a prime shooting position. I do think that that goal was a result of a defensive mistake. The second goal was also a defensive breakdown that Reno shouldn’t have let happen. No one came in to guard the Las Vegas player who was wide open. The player was left open after the player who was defending him left him open to challenge for the ball. Someone else from Reno should have come over to cover the open Las Vegas player. Because of mistakes like this consistently happening over the last few weeks I think our defense could kill us in the playoffs.
Reno couldn’t get control of the game. They had opportunities to put the game away. They didn’t capitalize on those opportunities. I am not just talking about the penalty kick that Reno wasn’t able to capitalize on. I think Reno had plenty of opportunities and just couldn’t make them count. Moving forward Reno needs to get better at that or it will hurt them in the playoffs.
It also seemed like Reno wasn’t pushing that hard to win the game. I don’t think they tried enough to break the Las Vegas defensive line. I would have liked to have seen more long ball attempts. Especially later on in the game. I think as a result of using the same strategy as the San Jose Earthquakes, Reno will keep quick counter-attacks or long balls to a minimum. I think That hurts the team later on in games. That’s just something to think about as we approach the playoffs.
Current Group A Standings
October, 1, 2020
Reno 1868 FC (33pts)
Sacramento Republic FC (27pts)
Tacoma Defiance (14pts)
Portland Timbers 2 (9pts)
Reno 1868 FC heads to Tacoma on Saturday, October 3 to face Tacoma Defiance for the last game of the regular season. This match was originally scheduled to be played in Reno. The location of the match was changed due to their previous match on July 23 being postponed. Reno has postponed two matches this season with Tacoma. Reno has won all three of their previous matches in 2020 with Tacoma. The match is scheduled to take place at Cheney Stadium. Kickoff is currently set for 700 pm.