LAS VEGAS – Reno 1868 FC’s captain Brent Richards scored the lone goal of the game to keep Reno’s undefeated record against Silver State Cup rival Las Vegas Lights FC intact after a 1-0 victory at Cashman Field on Saturday night.
Looking for a turnaround in its home opener, Lights FC went close to taking the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Bryan de la Fuente fired a shot just off target from the top of the penalty area. Reno then threatened in the 13th minute when a near-post cross from the left by Thomas Janjigian was sent wide of the mark by Corey Hertzog.
Five minutes later, however, Richards put his side on top. Off a free kick from the left by Christiano Francois, Richards elevated in the center of the penalty area and produced an acrobatic finish with the outside of his right boot that found the bottom-right corner of the net.
Reno’s Ben Kikanovic twice went close to doubling his side’s lead late in the first half, first curling a shot just wide of the right post from the top-left corner of the penalty area. Then in stoppage time he got around his marker on the left but was denied from a tight angle at the near post by Lights FC goalkeeper Edward Delgado.
Las Vegas had big chance to level in the 64th minute when Raul Mendiola – who played last season with 1868 FC – got past his marker in the right side of the penalty area and cut a low cross back to Rashawn Dally, but De La Cerda stayed with the play well and produced a good save to keep the visitors ahead.
The sides exchanged chances midway through the second half as Reno’s Kevin Partida fired a long-range free kick that Delgado was equal to in the 67th minute. Lights FC’s José Carrera-Garcia, meanwhile, came in for a sliding finish at the back post after a run and low cross from the left by De La Fuente, but the effort just went wide of the right upright.
Carrera-Garcia had another big chance for the hosts with 12 minutes to go as Junior Burgos’ cross from the left reached him in the right side of the penalty area. Carrera-Garcia had time to control and try to pick a finish, but his shot flashed wide of the left post as another chance went begging.
Las Vegas produced one final big chance in the 88th minute when they were awarded a corner kick on the right side. Burgos swung the cross into the back post where De La Fuente was among the players looking to direct it home. A tricky bounce saw the ball carom in the middle of the penalty area, but the finish didn’t have enough to challenge De La Cerda, and Reno maintained its undefeated record against its in-state rival.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Brent Richards, Reno 1868 FC – Reno’s captain put in another sterling performance, not only with an acrobatic finish that claimed all three points but a solid defensive display in which he won 8 of 9 duels and made nine recoveries