Sacramento Republic FC jumped out to an early lead in the 15th minute. Defender James Kiffe received the ball wide on the left wing before sending a looping cross into the box. Midfielder Hayden Partain made a near-post run and sent a glancing header past Reno 1868 FC keeper Matt Bersano and into the back of the net. The goal marked Partain’s first as a professional and put Republic FC ahead 1-0.
Reno would respond quickly however, with a strike from the USL’s leading goal scorer Dane Kelly. The forward found space in the center of the box and defender Nick Von Niederhäusern found him with a cross. Kelly elevated and sent a powerful header past a diving Republic FC keeper Evan Newton for the emphatic equalizer.
After Kiffe barely chased down and cleared a would-be goal off the line, Reno would use the shift in momentum to jump ahead in the 22nd minute. Defender Elliott Hord was shown a yellow card for a tackle just outside of the box and Reno capitalized. Midfielder Chris Wehan curled his free-kick up and over the six-man wall as it dipped under the bottom of the crossbar and past a Newton to put Reno ahead 2-1.
The match continued back and forth throughout the rest of the half. Newton and Reno keeper Matt Bersano were both called to action to make saves in 1-one-1 situations in the first half. Newton was forced to make a save when Kelly was able to beat the defense and get a clear path to goal. Kelly rifled a shot from 20 yards out and Newton leapt in the air, blocking the shot with a strong two-handed parry. Bersano made a crucial save on a breakaway chance for Trevin Caesar. The speedy Republic FC forward picked off a pass and took off for goal before attempting to chip the keeper. Bersano went to ground and blocked the attempt away with one hand only to have Wilson Kneeshaw follow the rebound and send a strike on goal. Bersano recovered in time to make the follow up save and maintain the 2-1 lead for Reno going into halftime.
The second half did not see as much action as the first but Republic FC did put the pressure on to find an equalizer late. After an onslaught of crosses into the box, Republic FC earned a corner kick in stoppage time. Kiffe sent the ball into the box and Newton, who had left his box to help in the attack, leapt in the air and actually won the header as he redirected it towards the near post. The Reno defense had both posts covered and cleared the ball away just as the final whistle blew.
“We’ve been on an incredible run,“ said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We’ve been beaten at home and it’s never a nice feeling. It’s a lesson for us.”
Republic FC won’t have to wait long to get another chance at home, as they host Swope Park Rangers on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park. Tickets are available at SacRepublicFC.com.
Scoring Summary: SRFC - Hayden Partain (James Kiffe) 15; RNO – Dane Kelly (Nick von Niederhäusern) 17, Chris Wehan 22
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Elliott Hord (caution) 21, Jeremy Hall (caution) 32, Chris Christian (caution) 55, Sammy Ochoa (caution) 84; RNO – Seth Casiple (caution) 86
Reno 1868 FC – Matt Bersano. Nick Von Niederhäusern, Jimmy Ockford, Jordan Murrell, Brent Richards, Luis Felipe Fernandes (Marc Pelosi 60), LIndo Mfeka (Seth Casiple 69), Matt LaGrassa, Chris Wehan, Antoine Hoppenot, Dane Kelly (Brian Brown 81).
Subs Not Used: Russell Klabough, Jordan Roberts, Junior Burgos, Darwin Espinal.
Stats: Shots: 10, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 3, Fouls: 11, Corner Kicks: 6, Offside: 0.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton, Elliott Hord (Matt Wiesenfarth 69), Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta, James Kiffe, Agustin Cazarez (Sammy Ochoa 78), Jeremy Hall, Hayden Partain, Tyler Blackwood, Wilson Kneeshaw, Trevin Caesar (Harry Williams 63).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Peter McGlynn, Carlos Rodriguez, Gabe Gissie.
Stats: Shots: 17, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 2, Fouls: 16, Corner Kicks: 6, Offside: 2.