Reno 1868 FC hosted LA Galaxy 2 on October 10, 2020. It was the first round of the 2020 USL Championship playoffs. This round of the playoffs was the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The ground for the match was Greater Nevada Field in Reno. Reno and LA did not meet for a match in the 2020 regular season. Reno 1868 FC won Group A and won the regular-season title. LA came in second place in Group B.
When USL Championship return to play started, fans had not been allowed at Greater Nevada Field. Changes were made to Nevada’s regulations on gatherings at the end of the season. Fans were allowed back inside of the stadium for this match. This was the first match with Reno 1868 FC fans inside the building since February. Supporters have been cheering on Reno from outside of the stadium since the start of return to play.
Going into this match I was nervous. Reno didn’t have the chance to test LA in a match this season. Reno did win Group A and did have the best record in the league, but it could be argued that Reno had the easiest group to win. Reno also has a history of doing well in the regular season and underperforming in the playoffs.
I hadn’t thought too much about what it was going to take for Reno to win. I hadn’t seen LA play at all. I did know that Reno’s defense was going to have to do better than they had been at the end of the season. I knew between Foster Langsdorf, Christiano Francios, and Corey Hertzog, two of them would have to have a good game for Reno to win. I think if just one of them had a great game Reno would win. However, the emphasis remained on defense and being able to shut teams down. If Reno wasn’t able to shut teams down, Reno wouldn’t go far in the playoffs.
What Happened In The First Half
4’ minute Reno scored. Kevin Partida scored unassisted. LA’s keeper had a free kick on the 6-yard box. He passed the ball to his teammate who was inside the box. Corey Hertzog was standing at the top of the box and ran into the box to put pressure on LA. The LA player passed it back to the keeper. The keeper cleared the ball out of the box. It looked like he was trying to put the ball around Hertzog and back to his player. Partida got to the ball. Despite being under pressure coming from LA, the shot went in.
The keeper handled the ball too much. He also had the chance to clear the ball and decided not to. Instead, he put the ball right in front of Partida. It was a good effort by Reno to keep the pressure on LA and capitalize on the keeper’s mistake.
10’ minute LA tied the game. Jalen Neal was awarded the goal. Mauricio Cuevas got the assist. Cuevas sent the ball in off a free kick on the wing. Neal was left open in the 6-yard box to head the ball in. On this goal, Reno was just beaten to the ball.
35’ minute Reno took the lead. The goal was scored by Corey Hertzog. The assist was from Christiano Francois. Foster Langsdorf was running with the ball towards the wing. He passed the ball to Francois who was wide open. It wasn’t a clean pass. Francois got tangled up a bit. He was able to get the ball to Hertzog while it was bouncing. Hertzog settled the ball down. He created some space for a shot. The shot was quick enough to beat the keeper.
45’ minute Kevin Partida of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
What Happened In The Second Half
53’ minute Reno took a two-goal lead. Foster Langdorf scored the goal. Corey Hertzog got the assist. Hertzog got a through ball to Langsdorf who was behind two defenders but was still onside. Langsdorf took the ball into the center of the box with no help. The keeper came out past the penalty kick dot to challenge for the ball. Langsdorf chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net.
It was a solid play by Reno. Hertzog did a good job recognizing where Langsdorf was. Langsdorf didn’t lose concentration. I think 9 out of 10 times Langsdorf will score in those situations. I do think the keeper came out of his net way too early. If he would have stayed back a little longer, it would have forced Langsdorf to take a harder shot. His defenders were also catching up. If he would have waited his defenders might have gotten there.
58’ minute Abraham Romero of LA Galaxy 2 received a yellow card.
59’ minute Corey Hertzog extended Reno’s lead by converting a penalty kick. The ball was crossed into the box by Reno. Foster Langsdorf was able to get the ball towards the penalty kick area while being taken down. Hertzog got to the ball before anyone else. In the process of trying to touch the ball around the keeper, he had his legs swept from underneath him by the keeper. The keeper was shown the yellow card. Reno was awarded a penalty kick.
On the penalty kick, the keeper went all the way to his right. He was challenging Hertzog to shoot the ball to the keepers left. The keeper jumped before Hertzog took the shot. Hertzog went to the keepers right. The keeper left half the net open and telegraphed where he was going.
My favorite part of this whole play was the fans chanting “You’re not gonna save it, no you ain’t gonna save it, you’re not gonna save it Romero” to the tune of We’re Not Goanna Take It by Twisted Sister.
66’ minute Jorge Hernandez of LA Galaxy 2 received a yellow card.
74’ minute Jesus Vazquez of LA Galaxy 2 received a yellow card.
76’ minute Adam Saldana of LA Galaxy 2 received a red card for violent conduct. The further the game came to an end the more LA was getting mad. Between the 70’ minute and the 76’ minute things heated up between both teams. It escalated to the point where Saldana pushed Sam Gleadle over with two hands to the back in between plays.
77’ minute Corey Hertzog of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card for arguing.
85’ minute Corey Hertzog was subbed out after being visibly injured. He was on the ground for a while but did manage to get up and off the field on his own. I hope he is ok we will defiantly need him for the next match.
85’ minute Ben Beaury of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card for time-wasting.
90+2’ minute the match ends in a 4-1 Reno victory. Reno advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals.
As a side note, there were eight games played on Saturday. Sixteen teams played in those games. I saw fans from ten different teams complain about the officiating in their game. The biggest one being Sacramento. Phoenix scored on a handball to win the match against Sacramento. The league seriously needs to look into better refs and the possibility of VAR (replay).
In the Reno game, LA was getting a lot of soft calls. At the same time, Reno couldn’t get calls to go their way. LA took a lot of cheap shots. The majority of them weren’t called. I think the ref should have done more to calm escalating tensions later in the match. Not being able to calm down the game directly led to Adam Saldana pushing Sam Gleadle. That could have ended in an injury. The ref did make the right call with a red card in that situation. However, that situation didn’t materialize out of thin air. Part of the ref’s job is to protect the players from things like that happening. By not calming the game down he put every player on the field in danger. For this match, I give the officiating a 3 out of 10.
October, 10, 2020
After Match Thoughts
Reno came out swinging. They kept the pressure on LA for the whole match. I love that they did that. Reno has been struggled later on in the season to do that. Reno’s defense wasn’t tested as much as it will be moving forward. Reno’s defense was ok in this match. It wasn’t the best or the worst. It still left some to be desired. The offense and Reno’s control of the ball is what won the game. They didn’t have to rely on the defense. Moving forward Reno probably won’t have as much control over the game. If Reno can continue to be as offensively dominant mas the playoffs continue then they will roll right through the rest of the remaining teams. I don’t think they will though. I think they will be playing some of their toughest matches to get to the final. Reno will be challenged. I think Reno will be challenged sooner rather than later.
USL Championship Playoff Bracket
Reno 1868 FC will host Phoenix Rising FC in the Western Conference Semifinals. Reno and Phoenix only played once this season. That game ended in a 2-1 Reno victory. Neither team has met in the playoffs. Both teams won their respective groups. This Western Conference Semifinal match is set to take place on Saturday, October 17, 2020. The venue for this match will be Greater Nevada Field. Fans will be in attendance. Kickoff is set for 6 pm. The high is supposed to be 78 and the low is 39 so it will be another cooler match.