RENO, Nev. – Corey Hertzog notched a brace as Reno 1868 FC swept past the LA Galaxy II in a 4-1 victory in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday night at Greater Nevada Field. The win was 1868 FC’s first home playoff win in club history as Kevin Partida and Foster Langsdorf also found the net for the hosts.
The hosts came out flying and almost took the lead in the third minute as after a clearance by Los Dos the ball was quickly sent back forward to Tucker Bone on the right. His low cross found Corey Hertzog, but his redirection went high over the crossbar. A minute later, though, 1868 FC took the lead as off the ensuing goal kick the Galaxy II attempted to play short out of the back and a pass forward was intercepted by Kevin Partida and deposited into the back of the net.
Los Dos responded in the 10th minute as they were awarded a free kick on the left that Mauricio Cuevas delivered perfectly to the top of the six-yard area for Jalen Neal to head home. Reno almost regained the lead immediately from a set piece of its own as Sergio Rivas’ corner from the left was redirected on goal by Partida at the near post but blocked away by Galaxy II goalkeeper Abraham Romero.
Romero had to come up big again in the 18th minute as Hertzog set up a big chance for Foster Langsdorf to add to his team-lead in goals only for the Los Dos goalkeeper to close him down well, but as the pressure continued the breakthrough arrived 10 minutes before halftime as Hertzog controlled a pass by Christiano Francois in the left side of the penalty area, cut inside his defender onto his right foot and rifled home a low finish to the left corner.
Reno almost added to its lead in first-half stoppage time as Bone had a shot cleared off the line by Neal, but the hosts put the game away inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half. After other opportunities, Langsdorf got onto the scoresheet in the 53rd minute as he was played in past a bedraggled Galaxy II back line by Hertzog and lifted his finish past an advancing Romero into the right side of the net.
A few minutes later, a knockdown by Langsdorf just inside the penalty area was nicked away by Hertzog out of the reach of Romero, who brought down the veteran forward for a penalty kick. Hertzog stepped up to the spot and fired low into the left corner as Romero went the other way for 1868 FC’s fourth of the night.
The Galaxy II almost pulled a goal back with 25 minutes to go as Cuevas curled a free kick from 20 yards toward the top-right corner of the net but was denied by a fine save from Reno goalkeeper Ben Beaury, but with 14 minutes to go the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Adam Saldana was sent off. Reno would see out the game from there to comfortably advance to the next round.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Corey Hertzog, Reno 1868 FC – Hertzog put in a stellar performance with two goals and one assist as he finished with five shots overall and two key passes for the hosts.