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Late Goal Puts Pin in Reno’s Celebration

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 04/23/17, 10:14AM EDT

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1868 FC missed out on first win as Switchbacks’ tally derailed strong outing


Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

RENO, Nev. – So near, and yet so far.

Reno 1868 FC was as close as it had been to taking the first victory of its inaugural season in the USL on Saturday night, but a stoppage-time goal by Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Shane Malcolm put a pin in the celebrations as the visitors earned a 2-2 draw at Greater Nevada Field.

“The team is frustrated and the coaching staff is frustrated,” said Reno Head Coach Ian Russell. “Late chances and late corner kicks cost us, but I thought it was our best performance overall from the year.”

Reno had twice held the lead, earning the club’s first halftime lead of the season when a handball by the Switchbacks on a curling effort by Dane Kelly late in the first half saw the referee point to the penalty spot. Junior Burgos stepped up and fired into the right corner for a 1-0 lead.

The Switchbacks hit back after the break with their first set piece goal of the night. A back-post delivery off a corner kick from the right found Josh Phillips, and his header was turned home by Jordan Burt. Three minutes later, though, 1868 FC responded in kind as Jordan Murrell turned home a good header by Matt LaGrassa back across goal for his first for the club.

Murrell was making his second start of the season for Reno after being hampered by a recent injury, and was happy to find the net for his new club.

“It’s always good to score in front of these fans,” said Murrell. “They are loud and keep us going. I can hear them to the last minute. They don’t give up and we shouldn’t either.”

Murrell’s goal was set to stand as the winner, only for Malcolm to get on the end of a corner kick by Josh Suggs and salvage a point for the Switchbacks.

“It’s tough, but I feel like the team is playing well,” said Burgos. “Tonight, we came out and worked for it, but at the end of the day we took a point.”


Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

With a week off before the club’s visit to Phoenix Rising FC on May 6, 1868 FC will refocus and redouble its efforts to the payoff that was so close on Saturday night.

“We need to be stronger in the last five minutes,” said Murrell. “This is a tough league. It’s a new team, but we can’t be giving up goals in the last few minutes.”

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