Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Reno 1868 FC rallied from an early deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Sacramento Republic FC in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday night to bolster its position in the Western Conference’s top four. Sacramento had the edge early on, and took the lead in the 15th minute as Hayden Partain scored his first professional goal with a flicked header from James Kiffe’s cross from the left. Just two minutes later, Reno answered as Dane Kelly notched his league-leading 16th goal of the season with a good header from Nick von Niederhausern’s chipped cross. Antoine Hoppenot almost gave 1868 FC the lead moments later, his finish cleared off the line by Kiffe, but in the 22nd minute Chris Wehan bent home an excellent free kick to put Reno ahead. Kelly almost added a third for Reno with a fierce shot four minutes before halftime, but then Sacramento had a big chance to level only for Trevin Caesar’s initial shot to be saved, and Tyler Blackwood’s rebound effort to be cleared away by Jimmy Ockford to keep Reno ahead at the break. Caesar almost leveled in the 52nd minute as a good through-ball was met by Matt Bersano’s save, and Blackwood had the rebound again blocked by Ockford. Reno’s first big chance of the second half came in the 67th minute as Hoppenot skied a finish from the middle of the penalty area, while Marc Pelosi’s sliding finish went just wide of the right post with 10 minutes to go as the visitors almost doubled their lead. 1868 FC’s Brian Brown was then denied by a good save from Evan Newton with five minutes to go, and Newton almost provided late dramatics with a header deep in stoppage time that was cleared off the line, but Reno held on to take all three points.
15’ – SAC – Hayden Partain (James Kiffe)
17’ – RNO – Dane Kelly (Nick von Niederhausern)
22’ – RNO – Chris Wehan
Three Things That Matter:
1. Going behind early on the road against Sacramento is a challenge for any team that visits Papa Murphy’s Park, but it was one that Reno 1868 FC rose to the challenge with two goals within the next 10 minutes that put the visitors in control on the way to a big road result. Both goals were well taken, with Dane Kelly’s powerful header his USL-leading 16th goal of the season a fine finish, but Chris Wehan’s raised the bar with an outstanding free kick that powered in off the underside of the crossbar for an outstanding spell in Republic FC’s half.
2. Sacramento got a fine opening goal itself, but Republic FC was left kicking itself after other good chances went by the wayside. The main culprit was Trevin Caesar, whose chance late in the first half to level the score ended up with a weak finish that was knocked away by Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano. By contrast, Tyler Blackwood could probably count himself unlucky not to find the net on the night, but 1868 FC captain Jimmy Ockford pulled off two great blocks in either half to keep the visitors ahead, and on their way to three points.
3. Sacramento not only saw the gap between itself and fourth-place Reno grow on Saturday night, it also suffered a blow ahead of Wednesday night’s key game with the third-place Swope Park Rangers due to the yellow cards of midfielder Jeremy Hall and defender Chris Christian. The two will now be suspended for the contest, which opens a crucial week ahead for Republic FC that also sees the club visit Phoenix Rising FC next Saturday night. Sacramento’s depth is going to be tested as it looks to keep its hopes of a home playoff game in range in the next seven days.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Chris Wehan, Reno 1868 FC – Wehan’s outstanding free kick highlighted another big performance by the rookie as 1868 FC took a big victory on the road against its regional rival.
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – August 23, 11 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park
Reno 1868 FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – August 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, Greater Nevada Field