Although tonight’s match up was scheduled as a friendly, both USL clubs played as if points were at stake in the first meeting of these two USL clubs.
Republic FC forward Trevin Caesar saw the first chance of the match in the 5th minute after getting behind the defense. Caesar sprinted onto the ball and tried to flick a shot over the oncoming defender, but the shot was deflected out of play by the defense. The ensuing corner kick led to a curling shot opportunity from midfielder Adam Moffat, which was caught by FC Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt.
Republic FC had another chance on goal in the 18th minute when Caesar streaked past the defense again. The new Republic FC forward drew two defenders with him as he wisely dropped a pass back for Sammy Ochoa who could not get a shot off as the ball rolled past him. Tyler Blackwood was in good position to send the loose ball into the net with a curling, left-footed shot that was saved by Hildebrandt.
FC Cincinnati tallied shortly after that in the 21st minute when they were awarded a penalty kick after a disputed foul was called in the box on a free kick from Aodhan Quinn. The midfielder then stepped up to the spot and converted a left-footed penalty strike past a diving Republic FC keeper Evan Newton to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.
Republic FC midfielder Jeremy Hall almost capitalized on a loose clearance from FC Cincinnati in the 34th minute, but his shot on goal went right into the waiting chest of Hildebrandt. Danny Barrera, Blackwood and Caesar also had chances in the waning minutes of the first half, but FC Cincinnati was able to hold off the barrage of attacks and maintain their one goal lead.
Republic FC equalized in the 65th minute in the form of a goal by defender James Kiffe. The defender was the beneficiary of a superb layoff pass from Caesar to set him up for the goal. Kiffe calmly slotted a right-footed shot past Hildebrandt to tie up the score at 1-1.
Second half substitute Wilson Kneeshaw put Republic FC up in the 82nd minute when he tapped in a rebound opportunity after a fantastic shot from Harry Williams. Kneeshaw’s tap-in gave Republic FC a one-goal lead that lasted until the waning seconds of stoppage time. In a last gasp effort for the visitors, defender Paul Nicholson was able to send a perfect cross into the middle of the box to find an airborne Harrison Delbridge, who made no mistake with his header finish. Delbridge, a former Republic FC defender, rescued a draw for FC Cincinnati with the last action of the match, which ended 2-2.
“It’s a preseason friendly but we’re really preparing and that’s why we have this match,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We wanted to treat it like a USL game and it’s going to be very difficult if this [officiating] is going to continue because even at the end when there’s three minutes of added time, the games over, and [it ended after] 4:30. I know it sounds like sour grapes, but it’s important when they’re pushing to salvage something from a game that should have been dead and buried. But I’m very pleased with the way we’ve come together.
“I am very pleased with the way we have come together so quickly,” continued Buckle. “It’s a big night for all the debutantes. I think you can see from tonight that hopefully we are going to be a force…and of course, the bench is very strong. It is a real plus.”
Republic FC will return to action on Saturday, Mar. 11 when they travel to Reno, Nev. to take on the newest addition to USL, Reno 1868 FC. Kickoff is 4 p.m.
Scoring Summary: CIN – Aodhan Quinn (penalty) 21, Harrison Delbridge (Paul Nicholson) 90; SRFC – James Kiffe (Trevin Caesar) 65, Wilson Kneeshaw 82
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Sammy Ochoa (caution) 45, Wilson Kneeshaw (caution) 90; CIN – Jimmy McLaughlin (caution) 64, Tyler Polak (caution) 78
FC Cincinnati – Mitch Hildebrandt (Dallas Jaye 86); Matt Bahner, Harrison Delbridge, Austin Berry (Paul Nicholson 55), Tyler Polak, Aodhan Quinn (Casey Townsend 86), Kenney Walker (Marco Dominguez 85), Corben Bone (Eric Stevenson 86), Andrew Wiedeman (Kadeem Dacres 70), Jimmy McLaughlin (Victor Mansaray 77), Djiby Fall (Andy Craven 80).
Subs Not Used: Dan Williams, Aaron Walker, Pat McMahon.
Stats: Shots: 5, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 6, Fouls: 19, Corner Kicks: 2, Offside: 1.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton (Dominik Jakubek 46), Elliott Hord, Alex Davey (Agustin Cazarez 70), Julius James, James Kiffe; Danny Barrera, Jeremy Hall, Adam Moffat, Tyler Blackwood (Daniel Trickett-Smith 66); Sammy Ochoa (Harry Williams 66), Trevin Caesar (Wilson Kneeshaw 66).
Subs Not Used: Gabe Gissie, Lamin Suma, Enrique Montano, Christian Chaney.
Stats: Shots: 13, Shots on Goal: 8, Saves: 1, Fouls: 15, Corner Kicks: 7, Offside: 4.