PORTLAND, Ore. – Christiano Francois scored a pair of goals to send Reno 1868 FC to the top of Group A as the visitors pulled away late for a 4-1 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park on Wednesday night.
Looking for its first win of the season, Portland created the first big chance in the 10th minute when Gio Calixtro fired a sharp low shot from just inside the penalty area that 1868 FC goalkeeper Eric De La Cerda got down well to save. T2 continued to create chances throughout the opening half, and Max Ornstil had a close-range finish turned away by De La Cerda in the 25th minute.
It was Reno that took the lead five minutes before halftime, however, on a moment of individual brilliance by Francois. Picking up possession on the left at the halfway line, the Haitian international drove forward quickly and then cut inside past an approaching defender before lacing a finish from 20 yards into the top-right corner of the net.
Portland almost pulled level just before halftime when Aaron Molley sent a free kick from 25 yards just over the top-left corner of the net, but instead 1868 FC doubled its lead seven minutes into the second half. After a long throw-in from the right by Brent Richards was half-cleared by T2’s defense, Sergio Rivas followed up with a crisp first-time finish from 25 yards that arrowed its way into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Reno carved out a good chance for a third in the 65th minute as Francois found a late-arriving Tucker Bone in the penalty area for a shot that got blocked by Ornstil, only for Portland to pull back a goal with 17 minutes to go. A good run to the byline on the left by Aedan Stanley was picked out by Ornstil, and Stanley’s cross found Gerardo Duran for a header that deflected home to make it a one-goal game.
1868 FC restored its two-goal lead with eight minutes to go, however, as Foster Langsdorf scored his first goal for Reno. After Francois found space on the left, he delivered a cross to the far post that found Langsdorf for a header that was saved, but Langsdorf squeezed home the rebound to score against his former club.
Portland’s chances of a late comeback dimmed when Ornstil was sent off a few minutes later as he received his second yellow card of the game, and Francois put the game to bed when he converted from the penalty spot in the 90th minute after Langsdorf was fouled in the area.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Christiano Francois, Reno 1868 FC – The Haiti international bagged a pair of goals and also played a hand in Foster Langsdorf’s finish while also completing 23 of 26 passes and winning 4 of 5 duels.