The match started with Swope Park Rangers controlling most of the possession, but Republic FC’s defense was up to the task, keeping the Rangers offense quiet through the first half.
Republic FC would have their first strong chance on goal in the 22nd minute. Republic FC’s attack started with midfielder Danny Barrera finding forward Wilson Kneeshaw, who had beat his man down the right side of the field. Kneeshaw ran onto Barrera’s long ball and fired a right-footed shot toward the near post. Rangers’ goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra was there to deflect Kneeshaw’s shot, but the ball went right back to Kneeshaw who found Daniel Trickett-Smith at the top of the box. The midfielder took a shot, but his shot, like Kneeshaw’s, was deflected, keeping the match scoreless.
The Rangers had their best looks on goal successively in the 29th and 30th minutes. The first look was started by Colton Storm who sent a grounded cross into the box that was parried away by Dominik Jakubek, but right to the feet of Christian Duke who made a centering pass to former Republic FC forward Cameron Iwasa who fired toward goal only to have his shot blocked by his own teammate Mark Anthony Gonzalez. The forward recovered the ball before turning and sending another shot toward goal, but it was saved by Jakubek before getting cleared off the line by Adam Moffat.
However, the danger was not completely over as Storm would start the second wave of pressure again crossing the ball to the middle. Storm’s cross found Iwasa who was cutting laterally in the box. Iwasa attempted a one-touch shot, but his shot was deflected again, but again found the feet of Gonzalez who took another shot, but a sliding Jakubek was there to clear the danger. Duke would collect the clearance, however, firing a final shot toward goal, but a deflection allowed Jeremy Hall to clear the ball as Republic FC’s defense held strong despite the flurry of opportunities for the Rangers, keeping the match scoreless going into the half.
Republic FC came out strong in the second half, controlling more of the possession and getting most of the chances. Republic FC’s first good chance of the second half came in the 54th minute on a break. Defender Elliott Hord sent a long through ball from the right side that was just beyond the reach of Tyler Blackwood who was making a near post run. A Swope Park defender attempted to clear Hord’s through ball, but his clearance went right to the feet of Blackwood who continued his run. Blackwood took a strong shot toward the right side of the goal, but the ball went just wide to the right of the goal keeping the match at 0-0.
The Rangers would break the deadlock in the 70th minute. Duke had the ball in the middle of the field before sending it to forward Kharlton Belmar on the right side. Belmar touched the ball around his mark and hustled toward the end line before sending a strike toward the near post. Jakubek read the shot well, knocking the ball away, but his deflection was in the perfect place for Gonzalez as he followed the play. Gonzalez nodded the ball into the back of the net, giving the Rangers the 1-0 lead.
Republic FC seemed to be energized by the goal as they immediately looked for an equalizer. In the 74th minute, Moffat intercepted a pass in the attacking third, beginning a Republic FC break. Moffat took a few touches toward the middle, splitting the defense, before sending a left-footed shot toward goal, but his attempt was a little high and wide left. Republic FC would continue to press, getting multiple chances in the final 15 minutes, but were unable to find an equalizer, giving the Rangers the 1-0 victory.
Republic FC finishes their arduous road stretch that saw the club travel almost 7,000 miles to play three matches in the span of seven days, their most difficult road stretch of the season. Republic FC will return home on Saturday, Apr. 22 when they take on Portland Timbers 2 at Papa Murphy’s Park. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the match are still available at Ticketmaster.com.
Scoring Summary: SPR – Mark Anthony Gonzalez 70.
Misconduct Summary: SPR – Kévin Oliveira (caution) 52, Amir Didic (caution) 57
Sacramento Republic FC – Dominik Jakubek; Elliott Hord, Jeremy Hall, Emrah Klimenta, James Kiffe; Adam Moffat (Lamin Suma 84), Danny Barrera, Daniel Trickett-Smith (Harry Williams 78), Tyler Blackwood (Trevin Caesar 68); Wilson Kneeshaw, Sammy Ochoa.
Subs Not Used: Evan Newton; Julius James, Gabe Gissie, Enrique Montano.
Stats: Shots: 11, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 2, Fouls: 11, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 1.
Swope Park Rangers – Andrew Dykstra; Colton Storm, Tyler Pasher (Parker Maher 71), Erik Palmer-Brown, Amer Didic; James Musa, Felipe Hernandez (Kévin Oliveira 45), Christian Duke; Cameron Iwasa, Robert Mirosavic (Kharlton Belmar 59), Mark Anthony González.
Subs Not Used: Darrin MacLeon; Lebo Moloto, Dakota Barnathan, Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal.
Stats: Shots: 11, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 2, Fouls: 10, Corner Kicks: 3, Offside: 2.