Reno 1868 FC is looking for its earliest home win of the regular season in its history when it takes on Austin Bold FC this Saturday. | Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
RENO, Nev. – After taking a two-goal lead midway through the second half against Orange County SC, everything was in place for Reno 1868 FC to claim victory in its home opener for the first time in club history at Greater Nevada Field last Saturday.
So, the late letdowns by the hosts that saw OCSC rally for a 2-2 draw behind Aodhan Quinn’s stoppage-time penalty kick left a disappointed feeling around the Reno locker room after the game.
“It was definitely not a good taste in our mouths,” said 1868 FC midfielder Seth Casiple. “We think that the performance overall was really positive, some bad mental errors, but it is a long season and if we’re not able to put that past us than we’ve got bigger problems.”
Casiple and the rest of 1868 FC’s squad will get its first chance to put its opening draw to bed on Saturday when it plays host to expansion side Austin Bold FC (5 p.m. ET | Match Center | ESPN+), which is itself coming off a draw in its opening game of the year.
While there will be some familiar faces potentially in Austin’s lineup – including former Championship Goalkeeper of the Year Diego Restrepo – there is a certain sense of the unknown when it comes to the experienced squad Bold FC has put together. Scouting Austin’s contest last Saturday with Las Vegas Lights FC gave Reno some insight, but Reno Head Coach Ian Russell is expecting a challenging contest.
“They definitely have a lot of experience on the team,” said Russell. “The team has some players that have had very good careers. It’s obviously a team that we need to be ready to play.”
Austin Bold FC's Diego Restrepo recorded his 17th shutout since the start of the 2017 season against Las Vegas Lights FC last Saturday at Cashman Field. | Photo courtesy Las Vegas Lights FC
With its opening two games of the season both in Nevada, Bold FC elected to stay in Las Vegas this week as it trained at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ facilities at Peter Johann Soccer Field ahead of the trip up I-95 to face 1868 FC. There will be new recruits available to Head Coach Marcelo Serrano as well, with midfielder Valeri Saramutin and defender Jorge Troncoso officially added to the roster after the completion of their paperwork.
Having picked up its first point in club history, Bold FC believes it can build on a solid road performance that almost saw it grab all three points at Cashman Field.
“The team performed very well in the first game – defending very well and creating good scoring opportunities,” said Serrano. “Having two very important players like Valeri and Jorge available to the club will strengthen what we are working towards.”
What Reno is working toward, meanwhile, is taking victory at Greater Nevada Field at the earliest point of a season in its short history. In both 2017 and 2018 it took until the fourth home game of the season for 1868 FC to pick up all three points in front of its home fans. After last week’s near-miss, the team is ready to make amends on Saturday.
“Especially considering since [last Saturday’s] game was so positive, we think we deserve more and are excited to get onto the next one,” said Casiple.