The first half started slow with both teams feeling each other out and trying to find an advantage. Republic FC had their first strong chance of the half in the 15th minute. Midfielder Matt LaGrassa was taken down about 35 yards from goal in the middle of the field, earning a free kick. Midfielder Danny Barrera took the ensuing free kick, attempting a direct shot on goal, but it went straight to Blues’ keeper Josh Cohen who made a comfortable save.
The Blues’ best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute. Midfielder Ivan Mirković intercepted the ball in the middle of the field and sprung a quick attack. Mirković took a few touches forward toward goal before taking a low shot, but Republic FC midfielder JJ Koval slid to block the ball away, keeping the match scoreless.
Republic FC created their best effort just before the end of the half. Midfielder Tommy Thompson had the ball on the far right side of the field before sending a pass to LaGrassa who was at the top right side of the box. LaGrassa found space then sent a strong shot toward the top right corner, but Cohen was there again for the save, keeping the match scoreless at the break.
The second half was much like the first, with both clubs looking for an opening but neither finding many opportunities. In the 76th minute, Republic FC would finally break the deadlock. Forward Cameron Iwasa took the ball down the left side of the field before turning back toward his defensive half. Iwasa took a few touches back, creating space, before turning back toward goal and sending a strike toward the near post that beat Cohen and found the back of the net, giving Republic FC the 1-0 lead. The goal was Iwasa’s eleventh on the season, tying the Republic FC single-season record set by Thomas Stewart in 2014. Iwasa has scored in each of the last three matches.
The Blues’ best chance of the half came late in stoppage time. An Orange County corner kick found defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who skied high at the back post and sent a header toward the right side of the goal. The ball looked destined to tie the score, but Republic FC goalkeeper Evan Newton was there for the diving save, preserving Republic FC’s 1-0 lead and earning Republic FC a win.
The shutout was the tenth of the season for Republic FC, their most in a single season. Republic FC has also recorded back-to-back shutouts for the fourth time this season.
Republic FC head home to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Saturday, Aug. 27, in a clash of the top two clubs in the USL Western Conference. Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Bonney Field. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Scoring Summary: SRFC – Cameron Iwasa 76
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – JJ Koval (caution) 11; OC – Ivan Mirković (caution) 27, Andrae Campbell (caution) 39, Verneri Valimaa (caution) 80.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton; Octavio Guzman, Mike da Fonte, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Jeremy Hall (Alfonso Motagalvan 89), JJ Koval (Mackenzie Pridham 60), Danny Barrera (Carlos Rodriguez 90), Matt LaGrassa (Harry Williams 72); Tommy Thompson (Elliott Hord 86), Cameron Iwasa.
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Wilson Kneeshaw.
Stats: Shots: 8, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 4, Fouls: 7, Corner Kicks: 2, Offside: 4.
Orange County Blues FC – Josh Cohen; Andrae Campbell, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Maurice Pluntke, Matt Sheldon (Brenton Griffiths 90); Ivan Mirković, Mats Bjurman, Vernri Valimaa (Andrew Gray 82), Didier Crettenand (Akwafei Ajeakwa 79); Trevin Caesar, Christopher Santana (Max Rauhofer 79).
Subs Not Used: Brandon Miller; Jonathan Howe, Nikola Ilich.
Stats: Shots: 5, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 4, Fouls: 13, Corner Kicks: 4, Offside: 0.