Photo courtesy Tom Smedes / Reno 1868 FC
RENO, Nev. – Reno 1868 FC scored in either half as it took a 2-0 victory against San Antonio FC in front of 5,847 fans at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night as the hosts handed SAFC only its second loss of the season. Both sides went close early, with Reno’s Dane Kelly forcing an early save for Diego Restrepo, and San Antonio’s Rafael Castillo shooting just over in the seventh minute from a free kick. 1868 FC took the lead in the 25th minute as a corner kick from the right was held in, and scrambled home by Luis Felipe after Diego Restrepo had made an initial save at the top of the six-yard area. Reno threatened again late in the first half as Lindo Mfeka fired a shot from distance that was saved by Restrepo, while San Antonio went close early in the second half as Billy Forbes’ free kick curled just wide of the right post from just outside the penalty area. 1868 FC added to its lead with 20 minutes to go, however, as Brian Brown stole possession from Restrepo 30 yards from goal, drifted past the stranded goalkeeper and finished into the open net. San Antonio had a chance to pull a goal back with eight minutes to go when Cesar Elizondo was brought down in the penalty area, only for Forbes to hit the crossbar with his shot toward the top-left corner. That miss took the air out of San Antonio’s comeback efforts as 1868 FC closed out the victory.
25’ – RNO – Luis Felipe
70’ – RNO – Brian Brown
Three Things That Matter:
1. Saturday’s game figured to be a tight one which made it all the more important for Reno to find the opening goal. It wasn’t close to the prettiest finish 1868 FC will score this season, but Luis Felipe’s close-range finish after a goalmouth scramble proved vital to get the hosts on top on the way to a massive victory in the club’s pursuit of the top three in the Western Conference. 1868 FC is now only four points behind the Swope Park Rangers in third, and five back of San Antonio in second, a gap that can be bridged in the final 10 games of the regular season for Reno.
2. San Antonio goalkeeper Diego Restrepo’s ability to act as a sweeper has been effective for the club this season, but in Saturday’s the double-edged nature of the role was on full display. The good came on a great counterattack opportunity for Reno that saw a tic-tac-toe movement set up Antoine Hoppenot, only for Restrepo to anticipate the play perfectly and challenge before the Jamaican forward could find a shot. The opposite was true with 20 minutes to go, however, as a slack pass intended for Sebastien Ibeagha was intercepted by Brian Brown, leaving the San Antonio goalkeeper stranded as the Jamaican finished for the insurance goal that put the game away.
3. 1868 FC will celebrate an impressive victory in front of another good crowd of 5,847 fans at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night, but be aware there’s another challenge to come a week from now when it heads for another crucial contest against regional rival Sacramento Republic FC. With the way the Western Conference standings have taken shape over the past few weeks, Reno will be confident of getting a result on the road, and with a good portion of fans planning to head to California for the game, it should be a must-see contest for neutral fans as well.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luis Felipe, Reno 1868 FC – Luis Felipe not only scored the opening goal of the game, but was also a strong influence in midfield as he completed 44 of 50 passes and finished with four shots total.
Reno 1868 FC at Sacramento Republic FC – August 19, 11 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park
San Antonio FC at OKC Energy FC – August 19, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium