The first of four Donner Pass Derbies is set to take place during the second weekend of the restart of the USL Championship regular season and next Sunday’s evening rivalry clash will be nationally televised on ESPN 2.
When the boys in Old Glory Red host Reno 1868 FC on the national stage on July 19, it will be the first time since the 2019 Western Conference Quarterfinal clash when Republic FC upset second-seeded Reno in Nevada to advance to the Semifinals. It was the first and only time the regional rivals met during postseason play.
Reno visits the California Capital for the second time this season on Saturday, September 2 and hosts the Indomitable Club for a midweek showdown on Wednesday, August 12 and again on Saturday, September 26.
Republic FC split the season series in all competitions with 1868 FC in 2019, 2-2, but the boys in Old Glory Red can hang their hats on having ended both of Reno’s cup runs in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as the 2019 USL Championship Cup playoffs.
The Championship Cup Semifinal showdown ended in a 3-1 win for the boys in Old Glory Red on the road with Sam Werner, Cameron Iwasa and Thomas Enevoldsen each finding the back of the net. Republic FC’s Open Cup earlier in the season was a dramatic 1-0 win at Papa Murphy’s Park with Werner netting another against the Nevadan-club.
In the all-time series during Championship play though, Reno has the upper hand. Republic FC is a mere 1-5-1 against their I-80 rivals and has never beaten 1868 FC in Sacramento during regular season play. Last year, Reno earned a victory in both regular season fixtures.
Following a 2019 campaign that saw Reno record a franchise-best 60 points while finishing second in the conference only behind record-shattering Phoenix Rising FC, there’s no reason to think Head Coach Ian Russell’s will fade one bit.
Returning to Reno this season is prolific USL striker Corey Hertzog who netted 19 goals last season and climbed his way to fourth-most in league history with 62. He’ll be joined on the attacking front with newly acquired forward Foster Langsdorf from Portland Timbers 2 and Christiano Francois from Ottawa Fury.
1868 FC already nabbed one win this season, a 3-1 win in Washington over Tacoma Defiance. Despite surrendering an early lead, Reno rallied with three unanswered goals including a goal and an assist from newcomer Francois.
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