RENO, Nev. – Reno 1868 FC welcomed United Soccer League’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, Saturday night at Greater Nevada Field. With 4,430 fans in attendance, 1868 FC walked away with a 1-1 draw.
In the 4th minute, Reno defender Brenton Griffiths scored off a corner kick set piece from midfielder Junior Burgos to tally Reno’s first goal in regular season history.
In the first half, Reno took the pitch running. Action started in the 4th minute when Griffiths scored the first goal of the match to put Reno ahead 1-0 against Vancouver. Four minutes later Vancouver forward Thomas Sanner scored off a right-footed shot from close range into the top right corner of the net to bring the match level at 1-1. In the 45th minute, Vancouver’s Sanner had a chance to tally another goal with a left footed shot from the center of the box but was shut out by Reno’s keeper Matt Bersano.
The second half demonstrated a struggle for possession between the two sides. Reno was shaken by an injury on defender Jimmy Ockford, who was later replaced by Jordan Murrell. In the 60th minute, Reno had an opportunity to notch another goal when Matt LaGrassa attempted a right-footed shot from outside the box off an assist from Burgos. In the 81st minute, Bersano made a crucial save from an attempt at goal by Vancouver’s Ben McKendry to keep the score level.
Added time in the second half brought Reno’s best opportunity to tally a second goal off a set piece from Burgos, who whipped the ball into the box to find the head of Griffiths who sent the ball wide. At the final whistle, both teams left the match with 1 point.
Head Coach Ian Russell
On practicing set pieces
“We almost had three goals off set pieces, so I think we can see the result of our practice,”
On the first half of the match
“We kept the ball and made our lines tight. Two big positives for us.”
On creating more spacing for the team during the match
“I think we focused on it in training and had some players return from international duty who helped facilitate that.”
On the biggest take away from the match
“I think we still need to get better. We need to focus defensively on transition. We play Salt Lake next week and we want to bring home three points.”
“On the first goal of the season”
“I think it’s great because we did work on it in training and saw the result.”
Reno 1868 FC defender Brenton Griffiths
On the first USL goal for Reno 1868 FC
“It feels good to help my team earn a point. At the end of the day, it’s just a goal and I wish we could have got three points.”
On scoring as a defender
“There was a lot of emotions. I just lost a close family friend and I got that one for him.”
On the first half of play
“We really are a possession based team. Everyone is really good with their feet and it was good to see the team get the ball rolling on the pitch.”