RENO, Nev. – Reno 1868 FC claimed first place in Group A on Wednesday night but was unable to take all three points against Silver State Cup rival Las Vegas Lights FC as the sides played to a 2-2 draw at Greater Nevada Field.
The visitors opened brightly and almost grabbed the lead in the seventh minute when Blake Frischknecht drove in on goal from the left side but rang the crossbar with his shot from the edge of the penalty area. Las Vegas struck first two minutes later, however, as after being awarded a free kick centrally just outside the penalty area Junior Burgos fired a shot into the top-left corner of the net.
1868 FC quickly found a response, though, as in the 12th minute Younes Boudadi played a clever chipped pass forward into the right side of the penalty area that was controlled by Sergio Rivas, who quickly threaded a low cross through the six-yard area for Foster Langsdorf to tuck home from close range.
Reno was then awarded a penalty kick in the 18th minute as Las Vegas’ Seth Moses was penalized for a foul on Kevin Partida in the area. Corey Hertzog stepped up to the spot, but his shot to the right corner was saved by Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen with a low diving save.
The flurry of early goals continued in the 25th minute as Las Vegas regained the lead through Yamikani Chester. After the ball came loose after a shot by Burgos from the top of the penalty area was blocked, it came to Chester just outside the top-right edge of the box. The Malawi international hit a first-time shot that picked out the top-right corner past the outstretched dive of 1868 FC goalkeeper Eric De La Cerda.
Once again, though, the hosts found another quick response to get back on level terms after being awarded a second penalty kick after a foul by Las Vegas’ Johnny Fenwick on Langsdorf. This time Partida stepped up, and the local standout sent his finish to the left corner of the net as Olsen went the same way to even the score.
Reno almost grabbed its first lead of the night 20 minutes into the second half when Langsdorf sniffed out a potential back-pass and intercepted it alone, but Olsen came quickly off his line to deflect the ball behind for a corner. Chester then threatened late for the visitors, but his shot deflected off a defender and was easily claimed by De La Cerda.
1868 FC had one final chance to claim victory off a corner deep in stoppage time as Rivas’ delivery from the right was put on target by Jared Trimmer only for Moses to clear as he manned the right post. That proved to be the final notable moment, though, as honors ended even between the Silver State rivals.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Thomas Olsen, Las Vegas Lights FC – Olsen recorded two key saves as part of a five-save performance overall to deny a penalty kick and a big 1-on-1 chance and earn the visitors a point.