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Expansion Reno Gaining Momentum

By CHARLIE CORR - charlie.corr@uslsoccer.com, 05/21/17, 10:00AM EDT

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Kelly’s back-to-back hat tricks fuel 1868 FC


Photo courtesy of David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

RENO, Nev. – A two-game stretch might not be enough to paint the big picture, but Reno 1868 FC is optimistic with its form of late.

A win eluded the expansion side for its first five matches, but Reno has dominated in back-to-back games, notching a 6-0 victory Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC 2 in front of a crowd of 5,711 at Greater Nevada Field.

“We are definitely gaining momentum,” Reno defender Jimmy Ockford said. “We’ve always had a great squad. … We have to keep moving forward.”

This stretch started with the club’s first win, a decisive 4-0 victory at Phoenix Rising FC on May 6. On Saturday, it felt like a carbon copy as USL all-time goal scoring leader Dane Kelly provided a rare feat – a second straight hat trick.

“He’s dangerous,” Reno Head Coach Ian Russell said. “Scoring one goal in two games is good. Scoring six is just extraordinary.”

For Kelly, he deflected the feat to the rest of Reno’s lineup, who certainly put him in prime position with Brent Richards’ enticing cross for a 28th-minute goal and then drawing two straight penalty kicks, which Kelly converted.

“It was all my teammates,” Kelly said. “They are the ones that created the chances for me. I just finished them.” 


Photo courtesy of David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

Three of Reno’s next four matches are at home, including a quick turnaround to host Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Wednesday.
 
The coming week or two will tell the full tale of whether 1868 FC has truly put all the pieces in place. Having outscored its opponents 10-0 over the past two matches, the league and Reno’s home base are certainly taking notice.

“The team is starting to come together,” Russell said. “I think I was expecting that from game one and perhaps I was a little naïve, but I think the team is playing great soccer and we will continue.”

“We are just very thankful for the reception we have received here in Reno,” said Seth Casiple, who scored the team’s fourth goal on Saturday. “We were finally able to pay our fans back for their support.” 

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