CHANDLER, Arizona (October 23, 2021) –Republic FC would settle for a draw in the final road match of the 2021 season, playing to a 1-1 result against Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday.
An 84th minute own goal undid an excellent effort for Mark Briggs Men, who secured a point behind seven saves from Carlos Saldaña and Luis Felipe’s fifth score of the season.
Republic FC would manufacture well early, but was unable to break through on a pair of excellent chances. Sacramento nearly pulled ahead just before the 15 minute mark, when Shannon Gomez found Cam Iwasa at the top of the six yard box. The forward was just a step behind Gomez’s pass, however, and his attempt would go just wide of the target. Gomez would serve in another excellent cross just seven minutes later, but Sacramento was unable to get a foot on it, allowing Phoenix to clear out the threat.
The missed opportunity would be forgotten just moments later, when Republic FC struck first to take their first lead over Phoenix in four 2021 contests. After Emil Cuello found Luis Felipe in space, the midfielder unleashed a great look from distance that deflected off the foot of Phoenix defender Manuel Madrid and into the goal to give Sacramento a 1-0 lead. The score was Felipe’s fifth of 2021, tying his career high for scores in a season set in 2017 with Reno 1868 FC.
Great defensive work kept Sacramento’s lead intact as the second half begun. A dangerous ball from Phoenix forward Solomon Asante gave the hosts an excellent opportunity to pull even, but a great tackle from Hayden Sargisinside the six yard box neutralized the attempt.Alongisde Nabi Kibunguchy and Shannon Gomez, Sargis was excellent for Sacramento, helping keep the league’s highest-scoring offense to just five shots until the 70 minute mark.
Late heroics in the goal from Carlos Saldaña as time continued to tick kept Sacramento’s lead intact. After a foul from Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu in the 75th minute gave the hosts a set piece opportunity just outside the penalty area, the Vallejo native’s leapt to push a shot from Kevon Lambert over the crossbar. Saldaña stopped a pair of dangerous chances from Santi Moar and Tate Schmitt moments later, punching away good looks from point blank range.
Phoenix would equalize shortly afterward, finding net on an own goal after a foul gifted the hosts another set piece in the attacking third. Kevon Lambert’s poke would deflect into the net and knot things up at one with just five minutes remaining.
After closing out their 2021 road slate, Republic FC will return to home to face off with San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday, October 30. Kickoff on Fan Appreciation Night at Heart Health Park is set for 7:30 p.m., and the match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento, and ESPN+. Tickets can be purchased here.
Scoring Summary: SAC–Luis Felipe (Emil Cuello) 23’PHX– Nabi Kibunguchy (Own Goal) 84’
Misconduct Summary: SAC –Jordan McCrary (caution) 32’ Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu (caution) Nabi Kibunguchy (caution) 82’ 74’ PHX – Santi Moar (caution) 60’Aodhan Quinn (caution) 83’
Sacramento Republic FC: Carlos Saldaña, Shannon Gomez, Hayden Sargis, Nabi Kibunguchy, Duke Lacroix (C) (Patrick Weah 89’), Emil Cuello, Luis Felipe, Jordan McCrary, Jaime Villarreal (Maalique Foster 88’), Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Cam Iwasa
Unused substitutes: Rafa Diaz, Kharlton Belmar, JuJu Chavez, Pete Pennanen, Mario Penagos
Stats – Shots: 11, Shots on Goal: 2,Saves: 7, Fouls: 20, Corner Kicks: 6,Offsides: 1
Phoenix Rising FC: Andrew Rawls, Solomon Asante (C), Tate Schmitt, Manuel Madrid, James Musa, Kevon Lambert, Aodhan Quinn, David Loera (Arturo Rodriguez 65’), Darren Mattocks (Jon Bakero 45’), Joey Calistri, Santi Moar
Unused substitutes: David Egbo, Joseph Farrell, Prince Saydee, Edward Delgado, Luis Seijas
Stats – Shots: 14, Shots on Goal: 6,Saves: 1, Fouls: 11, Corner Kicks: 4,Offsides: 3