Kelly hat trick, first defensive shutout lift Reno in Phoenix
Saturday night was a historic one for Reno 1868 FC.
Reno’s newest professional franchise didn’t just win its first match in franchise history, it did so in dominant fashion, routing Phoenix Rising FC, 4-0, on the road on the strength of a Dane Kelly hat trick.
With the victory, Reno (1-3-2) jumped three spots in the Western Conference standings to 12th (out of 15 teams). Phoenix lowered to 2-3-0.
— Reno 1868 FC (@reno1868fc) May 7, 2017
Kelly got on the board early, finding space for a run through the middle and scored off a right footed shot just two minutes in. Reno gave Phoenix Rising no chance to retaliate when Kelly scored a brace just four minutes later off a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net. In the 39th minute, Phoenix Rising had a chance to tally a goal when Forward Chris Cortez shot a ball from close range only to be blocked by the hands of Reno’s goalkeeper, Matt Bersano.
In the second half, Reno didn’t step off the pedal. Kelly notched his first hat trick for Reno in the 66th minute off a right-footed shot from the center of the box. Midfielder Chris Wehan notched his first goal for Reno 10 minutes later on a left-footed shot under heavy pressure to cement the club’s victory.
— junior burgos (@juniorburgos10) May 7, 2017
Saturday’s match in Phoenix was Reno’s first after a needed off week. Early-season injuries plagued the team, particularly in the back line, which posted its first shutout of the season.
Reno will play its next match on the road In the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup next Wednesday (opponent is to be determined). The Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament that has been played annually for over 100 years.
“It’s an honor to compete in the Open Cup,” Reno 1868 FC General Manager Andy Smith said. “A successful run in this tournament could put Reno soccer on the map.”
Reno will return to Greater Nevada Field to play Seattle Sounders 2 (4-4-0) on Saturday, May 20.