Sacramento Republic FC’s first test of 2015 proved there’s still plenty of work for the club before they kick of their 2015 USL PRO season in March. With no goals in the first half, two goals were not enough for Republic FC to earn a win, as they played Fresno Fuego FC (USL PDL) to a 2-2 draw.
Eight players from Republic FC’s starting line-up vs Fresno were regular starters for Republic FC during their 2014 championship season, including last year’s leading scorer, Thomas Stewart and team captain Justin Braun. The remaining three starters, Bilal Duckett, Patrick McLian and Philip Lund, are trialists that were invited to join the club for further evaluation during training camp.
However, despite a strong veteran presence for Republic FC in the first half, the team struggled to produce on the attack, taking just three loan shots in the first 45 minutes of play.
In the 13th minute, Republic FC had an early chance from midfielder Octavio Guzman from just outside the near side top corner of the box. After a quick Republic FC run up the sideline, Guzman received the ball and had a beautiful look towards goal, but looked slightly off-balance as he took his shot, which flew wide of the net.
For the majority of the first half, Republic FC struggled desperately on offense. Forwards Stewart and Braun attempted run after run after initial set-ups from the midfield, but found themselves constantly cornered by Fresno without an angle on goal. The lackluster offense resulted in a scoreless half for Republic FC, but still managed to starve off Fresno.
Despite the struggles on offense in the first half, trialist McLain, a former Chivas USA and OC Blues goalkeeper, stood out for Republic FC in the first half, making six saves.
McLain had great reads on set pieces from Fresno Fuego, making a fantastic save in the 16th minute off a particularly dangerous Fresno header from a corner. Just over ten minutes later, McLain made another standout save off a Fresno breakaway. Fresno had a particularly dangerous counter attack in the 28th minute. Defender Mickey Daly found himself the only defender in position and cleared the first attempt, but McLain took a bold step off his line to make a big save off of Fresno’s follow-up on Daly’s clearance.
Also standing out in the first half was trialist defender Duckett, who made several big clearances for Republic FC within the first ten minutes of the play when Fresno Fuego made some early dangerous runs into the box.
The second half proved to be considerably more productive for Republic FC, who opted to play the remaining 45 minutes with an entirely new squad, substituting all eleven players for fresh legs.
It still took Republic FC 25 minutes to finally click on the attack. A break through came in the 70th minute, when trialist Richie Cardozo made a run for an angled shot outside of the box on the near side. Cardozo’s unassisted shot was just outside the reach of Fresno’s Sean Taufer to put Republic FC up 1-0.
Momentum finally seemed to sway in Republic FC’s favor after the first goal, with another opportunity coming just minutes later when a late tackle on Cardozo in the box resulted in a penalty kick for Republic FC in the 74th minute. Cardozo slotted the ball home to give Republic FC a 2-0 lead.
However, the momentum was short-lived, with Fresno Fuego countering with a goal of their own less than a minute later when a break in Republic FC’s back line gave Daniel Kazinsky the perfect opportunity to sail the ball past Dominik Jakubek, who stood in goal for Republic FC for the second half.
In the final minutes, Republic FC certainly looked tired from their first week of preseason training camp as they struggled to keep up with Fresno’s quick attacks. Kazinsky again found an opportunity for a goal in the 83rd minute, scoring the final goal of the match, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
“Tonight was disappointing, especially from the first group,” said Republic FC head coach Preki. “We just weren’t ready to play.”
Republic FC won’t have much time to reflect on the match, as the squad is back on the road for another friendly. Republic FC will face Ventura County Fusion (USL PDL) in another match on Monday in Ventura County. The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com. Kickoff is for 7:00 p.m.
Scoring Summary: FF - Daniel Kazinsky (Jose Cuevas) 76, Daniel Kazinsky 82; SRFC - Richie Cardozo 70, Richie Cardozo (penalty) 74
Misconduct Summary: FF - Cody Ellison (caution) 18, Chris Chaney (caution) 66, Carlos Grande (caution) 80; SRFC - Gabe Gissie (caution) 38, Gabriel Gonzalez (caution) 87.
Sacramento Republic FC – Patrick McLain (Dominik Jakubek 45); Emrah Klimenta (Matthias Bonvehi 45), Mickey Daly (Alfonso Motagalvan 45), Bilal Duckett (Gabriel Gonzalez 45), James Kiffe (Chad Bartlomé 45); Gabe Gissie (Joseph Ogbanje 45), Octavio Guzman (Agustin Cazarez 45), Ivan Mirković (Zav Taulieb 45), Philip Lund (Joaquin Rivas 45); Thomas Stewart (Richie Cardozo 45), Justin Braun (Adnan Gabeljic 45).
Subs Not Used: none.
Stats: Shots: 8, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 6, Fouls: 15, Corner Kicks: 1, Offside: 2.
Fresno Fuego – Francisco Hernandez (Sean Taufer 45); Trevor Spurgeon (Alfredo Lopez 65), Alberto Navarro (Carlos Grande 65), Cody Ellison, Elliot Hord (Jesus Garcia 79); Abraham Campos, Chris Chaney (Guston Cignetti 65), Milton Blanco; Jose Cuevas (Alex Culwell 79), Paul Islas (Alex Cowell 79), Renato Bustamonte (Daniel Kazinsky 45).
Subs Not Used: Alexis Hernandez, Juan Torrez.
Stats: Shots: 13, Shots on Goal: 8, Saves: 2, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 3.