If rivalries are built on memorable moments and exciting finishes, Reno 1868 FC and the Lights FC have something special brewing.
The Lights will just want a match to go their way at some point.
For the second straight game Las Vegas allowed a goal just before the final whistle, as 1868 FC forward Antoine Hoppenot scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time Tuesday to deliver a 2-1 win at Reno.
“We faced the opponent goal with clear shots all night and were not scoring, and in professional football, if you don’t kill, they will kill you,” Lights coach Isidro Sanchez said.
The win puts 1868 FC (11-6-8) in the lead for the Silver State Cup, the rivalry trophy given to whichever of the two teams earns the most points in their three meetings this season. The Nevada sides tied 1-1 at Cashman Field on March 24, with Reno goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski making a leaping save at the end of stoppage time to preserve the draw.
Marcinkowski was impressive again in the second edition of the rivalry series, making two saves to keep the game close. 1868 FC took an early lead in the fifth minute when Brian Brown scored on a counterattack, but then the Lights offense went to work.
They outshot Reno 19-12 — including 12-7 in the second half — and tied the game when Carlos Alvarez scored his sixth goal in the 47th minute. They managed to keep the pressure on despite only having three days between matches, tied for their shortest turnaround of the season.
The Lights (7-13-6) let up at the very end though, just as they did Saturday when a stoppage-time goal by Fresno FC turned a win into a tie. Now they’ll have to live with the loss until finishing their season series with 1868 FC on Sept. 22.
“I swear, the next time we come up here, we will be the better team,” Sanchez said.