After some back and forth action in the first 20 minutes of the match, Rio Grande Valley FC Toros nearly capitalized on a defensive miscue from Republic FC. Forward Jose Escalante charged down the left side of the field after a lofted through ball. Defender Elliott Hord tried to shield Escalante and let Republic FC keeper Evan Newton scoop up the ball in the box, but Escalante darted in front of Hord and flung his left foot at the ball, sending it right on goal. Newton was able to react quickly and get a glove on the shot to make the save, keeping the match scoreless early.
Republic FC had their fair share of chances in the first half with strong play from Harry Williams, Sammy Ochoa and Tyler Blackwood. Williams was able to thread some nice through balls to the forwards and Ochoa nearly scored a screamer in the 25th minute, but it sailed high and wide. Blackwood came the closest in the 40th minute with a right-footed strike of his own, but Toros keeper Calle Brown read the shot well and parried it out of play for a corner. The half ended in a 0-0 deadlock.
Republic FC’s first solid chance of the second half came in the 68th minute. Captain Danny Barrera found space on the right wing and held up play to wait for his teammates to make runs. Blackwood sprinted into the box as Barrera sent a left-footed, in-swinging cross toward the streaking forward. Blackwood dropped his head to send a shot on goal, but the ball just missed his head as it hit him in the back and rolled out of play.
Defender James Kiffe linked up with second-half substitute Christian Chaney in the 78th minute for a cross and header, but Chaney’s near-post run was defended well by Brown as he was able to make the save. Minutes later Republic FC kept the pressure on with a left-footed curling shot from Blackwood. Brown made the initial save, blocking it straight up in the air. Ochoa tracked the rebound and got airborne for a headed attempt on an open net. Unfortunately, Ochoa’s attempt missed the target as it hit the side netting and went out of play.
Brown came up huge again in the 90th minute to make a save on a header from Chris Christian. Barrera sent in a left-footed free kick and Christian won the aerial battle for the ball as he redirected the ball on net. Brown was positioned perfectly as he caught the shot in midair before crashing to the ground, securing the save. Newton, not to be outdone by his counterpart, made an equally impressive save in the dying moments of the match as he leapt in the air to block a dangerous free kick up and over the bar to keep the match scoreless, which it would stay until the final whistle.
“We couldn’t quite finish,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We got the space but we just couldn’t find the net. It was our second consecutive shutout, which was good for us. I was pleased with the energy.”
Scoring Summary: none.
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – James Kiffe (caution) 60, Gabe Gissie (caution) 90.
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros – Calle Brown; Taylor Hunter, Ivan Magalhaes, Kai Greene, Victor Garza; Jorginho James, Emilio Garcia (Camilo Monroy 76), Eric Bird, Charlie Ward; Jose Escalante (Kyle Murphy 72), Ruben Luna (Todd Wharton 63).
Subs Not Used: Marco Carducci, Robert Sagel, Robert Casner, Christian Lucatero.
Stats: Shots: 7, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 4, Fouls: 17, Corner Kicks: 4, Offside: 2.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton; Elliott Hord, Chris Christian, Jeremy Hall, James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, Danny Barrera, Harry Williams (Christian Chaney 73), Tyler Blackwood; Trevin Caesar (Wilson Kneeshaw 73), Sammy Ochoa (Gabe Gissie 85).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Julius James, Lamin Suma, Adam Moffat.
Stats: Shots: 12, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 1, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 2, Offside: 0.