Keven Aleman ended the afternoon with one assist, his third of the season
Republic FC (13-11-4, 43 pts) took one massive step closer towards hosting a playoff game next month after Sunday’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at Papa Murphy’s Park.
After an early goal from the visitors, Sam Werner netted the equalizer in the 18th minute after Charalampos Chantzopoulos intercepted an errant pass and quickly fired the ball upfield towards Thomas Enevoldsen. The Danish striker, with the slightest of touches, simply nudged the ball towards Werner in space who opened his hips and powered a right-footed shot just inside the far post. The boys in Old Glory Red doubled their lead in the 81st minute when Keven Aleman, after picking off a poor clearance from the RGVFC goalkeeper, found Dariusz Formella at the far side of the box who drilled a left-footed shot into the back of the net for his second game-winning goal in as many matches. Not only did SRFC out possess Toros on the afternoon 59% to 41%, but the hosts finished with a 84.3% passing accuracy, their best this season in league play.
With the win, Simon Elliott’s men currently have complete control over their own destiny. Meaning, if the team was to win out the remainder of their regular season games, a home playoff match at Papa Murphy’s Park is a guarantee.
OKC Energy FC (9-10-10, 37 pts) started the season hot, headlined by a three-game unbeaten run to kickoff their campaign, but the Midwestern club quickly cooled off. Since June 1 in all competitions, Energy FC has only won three of their last 18 games (3-8-7) and are winless in their most recent three matches. The struggles are mostly tied to the offense that currently ranks dead last in the entire USL in total shots taken with 294. The club from the Sooner State also boasts the lowest passing accuracy in the Western Conference with 74%.
Not all aspects of the OKC offense are in dire straights given an 18% goal conversion rate is fifth-best in the conference. Forward Deshorn Brown’s 13 goals currently leads the team and ties him for eighth-best in the league. He’s also 10th in the Western Conference with 53 shots taken. Fellow striker Owayne Omar Gordon has registered a team-high seven assists on the season which ranks him seventh in all of the USL.
Energy FC’s greatest strength is likely their reliable veteran goalkeeper Cody Laurendi who leads the entire league in saves with 91. Laurendi has five clean sheets to his name on the season which ranks him fifth in the conference.
The Midwestern club’s last game out was a 3-1 loss to San Antonio FC in the Lone Star State last weekend. The hosts took a three goal lead before a 77th minute Deshorn Brown goal from the penalty spot helped Energy FC avoid the shut out. A familiar face in Saturday’s starting lineup for OKC was forward Christien Eissele who played with Sacramento last season, netting five goals in 26 appearances.
The all-time series between these two Western Conference foes couldn’t be any closer. Dating back to 2014, both clubs are 4-1-1 when playing at home and Sunday’s game will determine who takes command of the series lead.
The last time SRFC and OKC went head-to-head, the Indomitable Club netted four first half goals and cruised to a 4-1 win at Papa Murphy’s Park back in late-March. Cameron Iwasa had a hand in all four scores, including his first career hat trick with the club. The Sacramento native even collected an assist when he set up Sam Werner’s goal to close out the first half.
Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento (Spanish) and ESPN+ (online). Updates online will also be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or by following #OKCvSAC. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide
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