Reno is officially home to a professional soccer franchise.
Reno 1868 FC played the first game in franchise history in front of 6,289 on Saturday afternoon at Greater Nevada Field, a friendly (glorified exhibition) with the San Jose Earthquakes – the club’s MLS affiliate.
Fans lined up outside the stadium two hours before touch and watched the USL expansion franchise hang with the Earthquakes and ultimately come up short, 1-0.
“I think we created a lot of chances and did very well against a good MLS team to leave it 1-0,” Reno coach Ian Russell said.
San Jose 2017 first-round pick Tommy Thompson scored the lone goal of the match in the 40th minute, a highlight reel shot off his heel inside the near post that landed on the SportsCenter Top 10. His tally was a rare dull moment for the passionate crowd.
“The atmosphere of the stadium is really neat and very intimate and I expect the same when I come here (Reno) next time,” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear said.
In the first half, possession was even between both teams. Mackenzie Pridham had a chance to equalize four minutes after Thompson’s finish gave San Jose the lead. Pridham’s chance in the box sailed past Earthquakes keeper David Bingham, only to be headed away by defender Nick Lima.
Prior to Thompson’s goal, 1868 forward Dane Kelly sailed an opportunity from the 18′ above the crossbar.
Late in the second half, 1868 continued its pressure when substitute Brian Brown was tackled in the box but awarded no penalty. In the 90th minute, Brown and Earthquakes defender Kip Colvey exchanged words, resulting in yellows for both players.
Reno plays the second game in franchise history, and first against USL competition, on Saturday, March 11 against its adopted rival, Sacramento Republic FC.
That game will also be at Greater Nevada Field.