SRFC striker Cameron Iwasa bagged a brace the last time these two clubs clashed.
Republic FC (13-12-6, 45 pts) picked up a priceless point on Wednesday night following a dramatic come-from-behind 2-2 draw against LA Galaxy II at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Forward Thomas Enevoldsen fired the hosts ahead in the 20th minute with a picturesque curling effort into the top far corner of the net. The goal was the Danish strikers seventh goal in nine games since joining the Indomitable Club in August from Indy Eleven. Los Dos managed to level the score through Ethan Zubak before the break and took their first lead of the match in the 72nd minute after a misfired shot happened to roll to a wide open Mohammed Kamara who kept his composure and netted an easy close-range attempt. But Simon Elliott’s men continued pushing forward and found their equalizer late in the 89th minute when Matt Mahoney guided a Mitchell Taintor header past the LA goalkeeper to complete the comeback and steal a point from Los Dos.
Despite surrendering two goals to LA, Republic FC still boasts the third-best defense in the Western Conference with only 36 goals against during league play. In games that immediately followed a match where SRFC allowed two goals or more, the team has responded well and posts a 5-3-3 record on the year in all competitions.
The result leaves the boys in Old Glory Red in sixth place with 45 points from 31 matches. If Sacramento can win out, the fourth and final playoff-hosting seed isn’t a guarantee but it’s still very much a possibility. Republic FC sits behind Austin Bold FC (5th, 46 pts) and Real Monarchs (4th, 46 pts) but has an away match on the final day against Monarchs that could ultimately determine the last remaining first-round home playoff game honor.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC (7-14-10, 31 pts) have endured something of a campaign to forget but at least the team can hold their hats on their recent run of success. After suffering through 18 straight games without a win, a run that lasted from late-April until late-August, the club from the Sooner State has been victorious in three of their last six games (3-1-2).
The thorn in Tulsa’s side all season has been their defense, even at home. Roughnecks FC have surrendered the second-most goals in the Western Conference with 62 and since June 1, in five of their last nine home matches, Tulsa has allowed at least two goals or more (1-4-0) to the opposition. The Oklahoman club also has conceded the third-most fouls in the entire USL with 467.
While the defense has been a mess for most of the season, the Tulsa offense has been the lone bright spot at times. In their last home game, Roughnecks FC roughed up San Antonio FC 4-3 with an 87th minute Fredlin Mompremier strike sealing all three points for the hosts last Wednesday night. Anchoring the attack is Rodrigo da Costa whose team-leading 11 assists is the second-most in the USL and he also leads the team in goals with nine. The Brazilian playmaker’s 67 scoring chances created is currently third-most in the Western Conference. But the creative midfielder isn’t the only offensive threat on the Roughnecks FC roster as Luca Lobo and Cristhian Altamirano have both recorded seven scores this season.
SRFC Defender Matt Mahoney has registered one goal and one assist over the last two matches.
The Indomitable Club are a flawless four wins from four matches when the team treks to the Sooner State and have allowed just three goals to Roughnecks FC all-time away from home. The last time SRFC traveled to Tulsa, the visitors cruised to a 4-1 win with Hayden Partain netting a pair of second half scores.
These two Western Conference foes last clashed in late-June at Papa Murphy’s Park where Simon Elliott’s men recorded a 6-0 resounding result. Both Stefano Bonomo and Cameron Iwasa bagged a brace a piece while Taintor and Sam Werner also contributed goals of their own.
One familiar face Republic FC fans should recognize on the Tulsa sidelines is Roughnecks FC assistant coach Nemanja Vukovic. The Montenegrin defender made 56 appearances for the Indomitable Club from 2014-2015, scoring four goals. Vukovic was also part of Sacramento’s 2014 USL Championship-winning side.
Saturday’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 #TULvSAC. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide
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