CARSON, CA (September 6, 2017) – Reno 1868 FC kept their unbeaten streak alive in the USL on Wednesday night in Carson, CA. Thanks to a second half goal from substitute Darwin Espinal, they won the match 2-1. The expansion side have now won six in a row. LA Galaxy II continue to struggle at the back, especially against Reno.
Los Angeles Starting XI (4-4-2): Lopez — Turner, Payeras, Engola, Smith — Mendiola, Zanga, Covarrubias, Vera — McBean, Jo. Villarreal
Reno Starting XI (4-4-2): Bersano — Richards, Ockford, Griffiths, Lagrassa — Casiple, Mfeka, Alashe, Wehan — Kelly, Hoppenot
Second Half Darwin Espinal Goal Gives Reno 1868 FC Win Over Los Dos 2-1
Reno picked up where they left off the last time these two teams met. Kelly was very active to start, creating chances for himself and others. The visitors made the Los Dos defense nervous and ultimately were able to make their chances count in the 5th minute. After a good sequence, defender Brent Richards let a shot go from 25 yards out and it snuck past Lopez on a bounce inside the far post.
LA Galaxy II turned it up after going down 0-1. Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal led the attack as the home side had several waves of attack. Bersano was up to each test. The back four also bodied up McBean with the officials letting the kids play.
Los Dos arguably had the better chances in the first half despite being down. Their hard work finally paid off in the 37th minute. Raul Mendiola got some space just outside the box and he uncorked a shot. It appeared to go off the shoulder of Griffiths. The deflected ball looped over everyone’s head and into the top corner to tie the match at 1-1.
The half ended 1-1 with Matt LaGrasse on a yellow card for Reni 1868.
The second half was more balanced in terms of possession and chances. Neither team could really impose themselves on the game. There was a bit of an injury scare for 1868 in the 56th minute as San Jose Earthquakes loanie Fatai Alashe had to be subbed out for an apparent muscle injury.
Reno 1868 finally found a breakthrough on the counter attack in the 66th minute. LA were caught with numbers upfield and didn’t cover their gaps well. That left Darwin Espinal open, who received the ball with space to shoot, and beat Lopez. That made it 2-1 Reno.
WATCH: @DarwinEspinal_ with a beaut off the assist from BRIAN BROWN!
Los Dos pushed hard for an equalizer with sever attacking subs. Ethan Zubak had a good chance in the 80th minute on a cross into the box, but could not convert. They couldn’t create a final dangerous chance and the match ended 2-1.
5′ Reno – Richards
37′ Los Angeles – Mendiola
66′ Reno – Espinal
This result wasn’t unexpected for either side. Los Dos have struggled recently and haven’t been good for much of 2017. They did get some reinforcements from some familiar faces (McBean and Villarreal), but the defense and central midfield continues to struggle. These players and coaches have learned a lot for the years to come, but this season they appear to be toast.
For Reno, they continue their hot streak. They’ve won every game since the start of August and are approaching offensive history for the USL. This team appears to be well equipped to make the playoffs and be a major player.