Tacoma Defiance are ready – for you, for the challenge of a new season, for Reno 1868 FC. A journey of thirty-four matches now waits in front of us. Our home at Cheney Stadium, with our flag flying proudly overhead, keeps spirits high.
Opening Night brings a buzz and excitement. There is only one beginning every year. Defiance Head Coach Chris Little eagerly looks at a March packed with home dates.
“If we want to be successful this season, the home form will have a lot to say about that. It’s important that we make it difficult for teams when they come here.”
Coming off a 3-2-0, +3 preseason Defiance seek to extend Tacoma’s inaugural day winning streak to three matches. Defiance will need to buck the broncos of Reno 1868. Expect a pacey match; both teams play in high-scoring affairs and an early goal is likely. Twice Tacoma’s scored against Reno in the first minute of the match. Remember when Justin Dhillon scored in 9.17 seconds?
You’ll be in your seat for moments like that on Friday night, won’t you? The first 1,500 fans through the gates of Cheney Stadium receive a mini-flag, incentivizing your getting the party started early.
No Longer Boys, These Are the Men in Black
Last year, six teens started in the Opening Night win. With an average age of just 20, it was a young squad that earned a 1-nil win. Now, there are just six teenagers on the 16-man roster with all but one already 18. With the addition of experienced USL players, like centerback Taylor Mueller (31) and midfielder Collin Fernandez (22), the average of the squad increased by nearly two years.
More than age, it is the experience on the pitch that Coach Little values.
“Our young guys have 15, 25, 30 more professional games than they had a year ago.”
His players are no longer new to professionalism, even the youngest players are match tested. Returning players average 40 professional appearances under their belt. Fernandez brings along 83 pro matches, and Mueller is the modern USL leader in minutes played. The Sammamish, Washington native appeared in 212 USL matches over his eight seasons and has never missed the playoffs. He wears the 74 in honor of the Sounders being born in ’74.
For Defiance, this is not year two. This is the beginning of a new chapter and journey full of promise.
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato
Reno 1868 Notes
- Went 2-3-0, -1 in preseason.
- Forward Corey Hertzog finished with 18 goals and 6 assists in 2019. He is 4th in league history for goals scored with 62.
- Former Sounders and Defiance centerback Tony Alfaro is back in the USA after spending a year with Chivas.
- 1868 is the affiliate of the San Jose Earthquakes.
- Their match preview and notes.
Tacoma Defiance Notes
- Went 3-2-0, +3 in preseason.
- Shandon Hopeau finished preseason with a goal for Defiance and two assists with Sounders FC.
- Tacoma’s leadership team consists of four returning players (Atencio, Daley, Hopeau, Rogers). Returnee to Puget Sound centerback Taylor Mueller also joins the inner circle. They will share the captain’s duties during the season.
- Mueller is 3rd in league history for regular season appearances with 200.
MultiCare Prematch Health Report
Reno – No injuries to report
How to Watch
Stadium: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Washington
Kickoff Time: Friday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. | Buy Tickets
Home: Tacoma Defiance (7-7-3, -1 in 2019)
Away: Reno 1868 FC (10-5-2, +8 in 2019)
The first 1,500 fans at Opening Night will get mini Flags of Defiance. Come early to get the Men in Black started off right. If you don’t have tickets yet we’ve got specials for you, including a Party Deck ticket for just $35 with an all-inclusive BBQ buffet and beverages.