Photo courtesy of Reno 1868 FC
RENO, Nev. – USL expansion side Reno 1868 FC kicked off its first season in front of 5,691 supporters on Saturday at Greater Nevada Field. The home side, though, was on the short end as a revamped Orange County SC stole the thunder with a 2-0 road victory. Duke Lacroix led the way with a pair of first-half goals – both assisted by Los Angeles FC loanee Carlos Alvarez, as OCSC controlled the game from the start. The game marked a victory in Orange County Head Coach Logan Pause’s debut.
31’ – OC – Duke Lacroix (Carlos Alvarez)
45’+1 – OC – Duke Lacroix (Carlos Alvarez)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Orange County’s roster is almost virtually changed from last year’s side. The acquisitions certainly paid off on the offensive end. Duke Lacroix attacked from the left on both of his goals, finding a weak crease in Reno’s defense. His first was in the 31st minute as Carlos Alvarez’s unchallenged cross from Lacroix at the far left post for the first goal of the game. Alvarez then had a cheeky outside-of-the-right-foot dish from midfield to lead Lacroix on the left flank. Lacroix did the rest, dribbling toward the end line and with a difficult angle finding enough space to blast his shot past Reno goalkeeper Jimmy Ockford in first-half stoppage time for a two-goal lead.
2. Reno will unquestionably need USL all-time goal-scoring leader Dane Kelly to carry the expansion side in the early going. During a 41st-minute counter, Kelly almost got into the scoring column this season as she snuck in between a pair of Orange County defenders, but pushed his shot just wide right of the frame. Kelly continues to sit on 48 career goals.
3. The host side’s Brian Brown had a strong impact as a second-half sub when he entered in the 56th minute. He had several attempts that were either deflected or saved by Orange County’s defense. It will certainly take some time for a first-year side to mesh. On the visiting side, it appears to be a promising campaign for Orange County moving forward as the defensive and midfield additions put together a strong performance in earning the clean sheet.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Carlos Alvarez, Orange County SC – Alvarez was the significant setup component as his experience shone through a pair of assists to get Orange County off to a strong start this season.
Reno 1868 FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – April 1, 10 p.m. ET, Greater Nevada Field
Orange County SC at Sacramento Republic FC – April 1, 10:30 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park