Reno, Nevada: A city traditionally known for casinos, picturesque mountain views and premier ski resorts is now making headlines for soccer. The San Jose Earthquakes’ United Soccer League affiliate, Reno 1868 FC, is in the midst of a terrific run of play that includes wins in four straight games.
After starting their inaugural season winless through five games (0-3-2), Reno has suddenly become one of the hottest teams in the league, earning consecutive lopsided shutout victories against Phoenix Rising FC (4-0), Seattle Sounders 2 (6-0) and the Tulsa Roughnecks (4-0). During the recent stretch, the team also earned a win in their first-ever U.S. Open Cup match against Seattle OSA FC.
The Earthquakes oversee the technical side of the organization for 1868 FC and are responsible for constructing a competitive, entertaining roster for the Reno community. The team also serves as an opportunity for the Quakes to give young players minutes on the pitch and rehab assignments for players working their way back to fitness.
Among the Quakes’ players that have played a key role for Reno this season are goalkeepers Matt Bersano and Andrew Tarbell, defender Kip Colvey and midfielders Lindo Mfeka, Jackson Yueill and Matheus Silva.
Colvey started and played 90 minutes in each of the three victories, possibly precluding another call-up to the New Zealand National Team. Mfeka has become the engine in the middle of the park, tallying two goals and two assists during the hot streak. Meanwhile Bersano (two games) and Tarbell (one game) have each posted shutouts to help the club shoot up the standings since the turn of the month.
Forward Dane Kelly currently leads the league in goals scored, having recorded nine in eight games, including a stunning seven in his last three.
“He’s a goal scorer,” said head coach Ian Russell following the team’s most recent victory. “He has pace and he’s really starting to hold the ball better. I think that was one of his deficiencies early on, but he’s getting better at that and he’s finishing chances.”
Reno returns to action this Saturday, May 27 against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at 5 p.m.