Reigning USL PRO Player of the Week Rodrigo Lopez helped kick off the scoring for Republic FC. Lopez sent an in-swinging cross into the box off a corner kick in the 13th minute that found Emrah Klimenta as he went airborne and sent a header past Arizona United SC keeper Evan Newton into the side netting for the first and only goal of the match. The tally was Klimenta’s first in USL PRO play and second of the season.
Despite only one goal in the half to finish the 45 with a 1-0 lead, Republic FC dominated over Arizona, outshooting their opponents, ten to two.
The early goal from Klimenta turned out to be all Republic FC needed to secure the home victory, but the match produced some excitement in the second half and a starling debut for a Republic FC defender. Alvas Powell made his mark in his first appearance with Republic FC. Playing right back, Powell attacked relentlessly down the right flank and sent many crosses into the box. His impact was felt greatest in the 50th minute when Republic FC keeper Jake Gleeson was caught off his line and Powell had to use his chest to block a shot off the line and out of bounds and subsequently had the clearance header on the ensuing corner kick.
With a cumulative 13 fouls in the first half, it was evident the match would only become rougher in the second half. With both teams fighting for possession, the officials warned several players that further unnecessary tackles would only result in cards for both squads.
The officials’ warnings provide true in the 58th minute, when Arizona United SC defender Widner Saint-Cyr received his second yellow card of the match and was sent off. However, Republic FC played for less than 20 minutes with a man-advantage, as Chad Bartlomé was given a straight red card in the 74th minute, six minutes after being brought on as a sub.
Despite the twenty minutes in the half of playing up a man, Republic FC lost some of their confidence in the second half. Despite dominating possession and attack in the first 45 minutes, Republic FC was even with Arizona in shots in the second half.
The biggest moment of concern for Republic FC occurred in the 89th minute when Gleeson and an attacking player collided inside the box. While the collision was unintentional, Gleeson remained on the ground for several minutes. After careful evaluation Gleeson was able to walk off the field, making way for backup Dominik Jakubek to close out the match. After a last ditch effort from Arizona United SC, the referee blew the final whistle on the 1-0 victory for Republic FC.
Klimenta spoke about his first USL PRO goal after the match,“It was about time. I have been getting a lot of chances in the box and it felt great to be a game-winner.
“At the end of the day we’re happy with taking the 3 points, but we needed to be sharper,” said Republic FC Head Coach Preki after the match. “Now we need to rest to have enough energy for OKC.”
Republic FC moves to 8-4-2 in USL PRO play with the victory and Arizona United SC moves to 4-7-3 with the loss.
Scoring Summary: SRFC – Emrah Klimenta (Rodrigo Lopez) 13
Misconduct Summary: AZU – Widner Saint-Cyr (caution) 22, Widner Saint-Cyr (ejection) 58; SRFC – Alvas Powell (caution) 35, Chad Bartlomé (ejection) 74, Max Alvarez (caution) 79
Sacramento Republic FC – Jake Gleeson (Dominik Jakubek 90); Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly, Nemanja Vuković, Alvas Powell; Octavio Guzman (George Fochive 68), Tommy Thompson (Jack Avesyan 75), Max Alvarez (Dakota Collins 82), Rodrigo Lopez; Adam Jahn (Chad Bartlomé 68), Justin Braun.
Arizona United SC – Evan Newton; Widner Saint-Cyr, Tyler Ruthven, London Woodberry, Scott Morrison, Paolo DelPiccolo, Matt Kassel, Bradlee Baladez, Jonathan Top (Brad Stisser 76), Schillo Tshuma, Jon Okafor (Kadeem Dacres 64).