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Reno 1868 FC makes West Semifinal as fans return to Greater Nevada Field

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 11:28 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Reno’s pro soccer club is aiming to make history and bring the Biggest Little City its first United Soccer League Championship. And the town can watch the Boys and Blue pursue it in person.

On Saturday, Reno 1868 FC won its first home playoff game, downing LA Galaxy II in a 4-1 rout. It sends Los Azules into the Western Semifinal round for the second time in the franchise’s fourth year of existence. They’ll host Phoenix Rising at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

“It was a great first step to get four goals and a win,” said Brent Richards, team captain and 1868 FC defender. "We’ve struggled with the playoffs in the past, so to get that first win under our belt was great for our guys.”

Saturday’s win over LA also marked the return of fans to Greater Nevada Field. Per Nevada’s updated COVID-related regulations, the limit on gatherings is now 250 people, up from 50.

The stadium hosted 250 season ticket holders, taping off certain sections and promoting social distance and sanitation.

“I really think that was a big part of (the win)," said Ian Russell, Reno 1868′s head coach. "It was only 250 fans but they were loud. The players got energy from it.”

Richards, with Reno since 2017′s inaugural season, was thrilled to have the team’s faithful fans back in the stands.

“It honestly felt like the stadium was full, they were loud the whole time," said Richards. "It was a ton of fun to play in front of them.”

The franchise is currently awaiting approval on its plan to host a crowd at 10 percent capacity, or 700 fans, for Saturday’s match against Phoenix. A win would leave 1868 as one of four teams left standing.

“It’s a special group that works very hard. I think you see that in our games," said Russell. "Especially in a city like Reno. It’s a blue-collar town and I think our fans appreciate that.”

Season-ticket holders are given first chance at the limited amount of tickets. To add yourself to the team’s waiting list, head to https://www.reno1868fc.com/.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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