RENO, Nev. – Back in April, Reno 1868 FC suffered its biggest loss of the season, a painful 4-0 defeat to San Antonio FC at Toyota Field in San Antonio, and as the sides meet this Saturday in Reno, that is a memory which has stuck with both teams.
It's a memory that leaves Reno looking for revenge.
“We definitely remember that loss, that was a bad one for us, but it also kind of sparked us into that good form we’ve had," Reno forward Antoine Hoppenot said. "We’ve used that loss since then to really build what we have right now.”
San Antonio FC defender Greg Cochrane, who plays his 50th match for San Antonio FC on Saturday, certainly sees a concern for revenge.
“No one wants to lose 4-0, as a competitor you’re always out for a little bit of revenge," Cochrane said. "We need to be on the ball from minute one or we could be in for a long night.”
Reno has rallied since then, going on a strong run as they started their charge up the Western Conference. Since playing San Antonio, Reno has a 9-2-5 record, while San Antonio is about level with an 8-1-7 record.
That is something that Reno 1868 FC Head Coach Ian Russell was quick to point out. “We want to play well and show that our first four or five games were not indicative of what we are as a team,” Russell said.
San Antonio Head Coach Darren Powell agrees, saying, “When it’s a new team you’re trying to find the players and figure out formations." That is something he knows well after leading San Antonio in its expansion season last year.
One man Powell will have to look out for is league-leading scorer, Dane Kelly, who has already scored 15 goals for the team.
“We’re all aware of Dane Kelly, he could do a good job,” said Powell. “You don’t want to let him get chances, so if you can prevent the service to him, great, if not, you need to know where he is.”
Hoppenot was glowing in his praise for his strike partner, making a bold prediction. “He is explosive," Hoppenot said. "He’s going to get at least one goal every game, and you can often bank on more than that, so no one is going to catch him.”
Whether or not Kelly can be caught, he and Reno could go a long way in the USL race should they manage a big win on Saturday night and get revenge over San Antonio FC for that heavy loss.