It’s time for the final game review of the 2020 Reno 1868 FC season. On Saturday Reno 1868 FC hosted Phoenix Rising FC for the USL Championship Western Conference Semifinals. Reno had won Group A and had the best record in the league. Phoenix won Group B. Reno beat Phoenix earlier this season. That was the only other time this season that these two teams met. Reno beat LA Galaxy 2 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. Phoenix beat Sacramento Republic FC (with an illegal handball) to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.
This game was played at the home of Reno 1868 FC, Greater Nevada Field. In the week leading up to the match, Greater Nevada Field had been approved to have 700 fans. That’s up from the 250 from the last match a week prior. The match also sold out the day tickets went on sale to non-season ticket members.
Not everyone was confident that Reno would win. I knew it would be a test for Reno. I knew that this could be the most challenging playoff matchup either team had this season. I thought whoever won this match will go to the finals. The one edge I thought we had was Corey Hertzog. He was injured in the last match and had to be subbed out. I thought that if he was playing at one hundred percent Reno had a solid shot to beat Phoenix.
I predicted a 2-1 Reno win
What Happened In The First Half
6’ minute Reno scored the game’s first goal. Corey “Scorey” Hertzog scored an unassisted goal to give Reno the lead. After getting a pass back from his defender, the keeper fed the ball straight to Hertzog. He had no trouble finding the back of the net. This one can be chalked up to a keeper mistake followed by a good effort by Reno.
23’ minute Darnell King of Phoenix Rising FC received a yellow card.
31’ minute Thomas Janjigian of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
40’ minute Reno took a two-goal lead. Kevin Partida scored unassisted. Phoenix failed to clear the ball out of their box after a cross attempt by Christiano Francois to Foster Langsdorf. The ball landed in the box. Partida was able to get to the ball and go through two defenders at the same time. He took the shot just outside of the 6-yard box. The keeper wasn’t able to save it. Phoenix made a mistake by not clearing the ball out of the box. Reno was able to capitalize on that mistake.
45+2’ Phoenix scored. Kevon Lambert scored the goal unassisted. Santi Moar took the ball from midfield into the box. He took a shot that was blocked by a diving Reno defender. The rebound landed at Lambert’s feet. Reno scrabbled to recover as Lambert took a shot that found the back of the net. In this play, two Reno defenders switched coverage to go after Moar. That left two Phoenix players open. Brent Richards was too far over to cover either of the open phoenix players in time. Corey Hertzog had the opportunity to come over to cover Lambert. He didn’t.
What Happened In The Second Half
51’ minute Kevon Lambert of Phoenix Rising FC received a yellow card.
57’ minute Tucker bone of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
65’ minute Damion Lowe of Phoenix Rising FC received a yellow card.
71’ minute Phoenix tied the game. Solomon Asante would get the goal. Santi Moar got the assist. Moar fell and slid on his own while passing the ball to Asante. In the process, he did trip up a Reno player. A foul could have been called. Asante got the ball into the box and took a shot while under pressure. I think Ben Beaury should have saved the shot.
79’ minute Foster Langsdorf of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
90+4’ minute Emilio Yacaza of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
90+5’ minute regulation ends.
What Happened After Regulation Time?
Playoff games cannot end in ties. What happens is that two fifteen-minute overtime halves are added to the game. It is not sudden-death overtime. Both overtime halves have to be played in their entirety. If the game is still tied after overtime, then the game is decided by a penalty shootout. The shootout format is five shooters followed by single sudden death shooters. It’s the same format as the National Hockey League has for their shootouts.
94’ minute Santi Moar of Phoenix Rising FC received a yellow card.
105+3’ minute the first half of overtime ended with the game still tied.
119’ minute Younes Boudadi of Reno 1868 FC received a yellow card.
120+2’ minutes the second half of overtime ended with the game still tied.
121’ minute Corey Hertzog scores the first penalty. Giving Reno the 1-0 lead in the shootout.
122’ minute Joseph Farrell scored the first penalty for Phoenix. Tying the shootout at 1-1.
123’ minute Tony Alfaro scored his penalty. Reno retook the lead to make it 2-1 in the shootout.
123’ minute Corey Whelan scored his penalty. Tying the shootout at 2-2.
124’ minute Brent Richards scored his penalty. That gave Reno the lead in the shootout at 3-2.
125’ minute Joey Calistri scored his penalty. Tying the shootout at 3-3.
125’ minute Sam Gleadle scored his penalty. Retaking the lead in the shootout for Reno at 4-3.
126’ minute Darnell King scored his penalty. Tying the shootout at 4-4.
126’ minute Aidan Apodaca didn’t convert his penalty. The shot was saved by Zac Lubin. The shootout remained tied at 4-4.
127’ minute Rufat Dadashov scored his penalty. Phoenix wins the shootout by a final of 4-5.
127’ minute the match ends in a 2(4) – 2(5) Reno loss. Reno 1868 FC is eliminated from the playoffs. Phoenix Rising FC advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Terrible officiating. I didn’t think it would get worse than last week. I thought this was the playoffs. I thought that the league would want its best officiating on display. I guess not. What happened in this game was that major fouls that should have resulted in red cards went uncalled. At the same time, clean challenges and flops were resulting in yellow cards. At one point, it seemed like if the ref wasn’t within 5 yards of the play it wasn’t going to get properly called.
During the game, one of the Reno players had a step on the Phoenix defender. The phoenix defender decided to drag the Reno player down to the ground instead of letting him get a breakaway. The result of the play should have been a red card. It was malicious and I’ve seen red cards for far less. The ref didn’t call anything. The result of the play was just a free kick for Reno. On one the ball crossed the line and should have been a Reno goal. The Phoenix keeper pulled the ball out and play continued. That’s a huge case for VAR right there. Whether it went in or not I don’t think anyone on the officiating crew was in a position to properly make the call. At one point in extra time, a Phoenix player fell on a Reno player after an attempted header in the midfield. The Reno player got up with no issues. The phoenix player decided to stay on the ground and flop around like a fish. The result of that play was a Phoenix free-kick. He fell on top of our guy and they get a free-kick.
It got so bad that at one point Ian Russel (the Reno 1868 FC coach) was on the sideline tearing into the officials. He was visibly upset and rightfully so. Officiating in the USL Championship needs to be fixed.
“This is why no one likes yellow skittles”Myself To The Ref – October 17, 2020
Possible solutions for fixing the current issue of the worst officiating. Better training. More training. Better preparation for the match. Stop outsourcing to the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). Add additional referees for the playoffs as other sports leagues do. The league needs to seriously look into VAR. The league could just get new officials entirely. I don’t see that happening but it is a solution that will probably work. I think if the league compensated the officials better (better pay, better benefits), then we would see better performances from the officials. Stopping outsourcing and better compensation could also lead to the rise of better officials staying in the league. as far as I am aware (I could be wrong) right now officials in the United States only care about getting to the MLS or going overseas. The reason for this being compensation.
October, 17, 2020
0.5/10 (cause it wont let me put zero)
After Match Thoughts
Reno lost. The season is over. Part of the blame goes to the refs. They took away at least one goal and possibly 2 others. Part of the blame is on Phoenix. They did manage to get the game to and win in a shootout. Part of the blame is also on Reno. Reno had a two-goal lead. Reno let Phoenix tie the game. I think taking Foster Langsdorf out of the game was the wrong decision. I understand he had a yellow card. I understand trying to reenergize the team. He is of the team’s top goal scorers. The game is tied with about seven minutes to overtime. I don’t think any team should take out one of their top scorers in that situation. Ben Beaury should have saved that second goal. He wasn’t able to save any of the penalty kicks. Aiden Apodaca (who was subbed in for Foster Langsdorf) Wasn’t able to convert his penalty kick in the shootout. It was a good save by Zac Lubin.
Reno had plenty of opportunities in the second half but just wasn’t able to convert them. It was a hard-fought-for game. It was a tough way to go out for Reno.
I will be doing a full Reno 1868 FC 2020 season review so watch for that. If I had to sum up how I felt about this season it would be proud. I’m proud of our boys in blue and what they accomplished this season. They lead this team and gave hope to the community during difficult times. They accomplished a lot despite it being a shortened season. They won their third Silver State Cup. They won Group A and had the best record in the entire USL Championship. I’m proud of our supporters. Despite not being let in, every match they were at the stadium watching from outside. Then when they were let in they sold out what the team was allowed to offer.
Unfortunately, the future of the team is shaky. I probably will be writing more about this during the off-season. As far as I know, the San Jose Earthquakes do not want to renew the affiliation agreement they have with Reno 1868 FC. The MLS launching a reserve league in 2021 will also kill any deal between San Jose and Reno. I think a 2021 Reno 1868 FC season is guaranteed. After that who knows.