Sacramento Republic FC capitalized on heavy early possession with a goal in the 16th minute. Strong buildup play led to forward Sammy Ochoa turning on the ball to find time, space and an open teammate. Ochoa picked his head up and found Trevin Caesar in the box. Caesar swung his right foot through the cross and blasted his volley through the hands of Seattle Sounders FC 2 keeper Sam Fowler, putting Republic FC ahead 1-0.
S2 came within inches of an equalizer in the 26th minute when forward Irvin Parra sent a screaming right-footed shot from just outside the box. Parra’s strike went just wide of the far post. Parra linked up with Shandon Hopeau just moments later with a dangerous cross into the box. Parra sent a far-post cross that found the head of Hopeau rising above the Republic FC defense. Hopeau redirected his header back across the face of goal, but Republic FC keeper Evan Newton was in perfect position to block the shot away to preserve the 1-0 lead going into the half.
Republic FC nearly doubled up their lead in the 51st minute when Wilson Kneeshaw wreaked havoc on the left wing. Kneeshaw danced through the defense before sliding a cross into the box for Tyler Blackwood, who was making a near post run. Blackwood trapped the ball at his feet and Blackwood poked the ball far post, but Fowler was able to make a diving save.
Blackwood would put Republic FC up 2-0 with his wonder strike in the 60th minute. Newton’s goal kick sailed into the attacking zone for Ochoa, who flicked the header into the path of a streaking Blackwood. The speedy forward charged the S2 defense, getting all the way to the touchline. Blackwood seemed as though he was sending a cross towards the far post, but the ball beat Fowler and snuck in the side netting for the improbable second goal.
Back and forth play from both sides led to some acrobatic and timely saves from Fowler and Newton. The keepers traded strong saves in the 71st and 72nd minutes, with Newton making numerous crucial stops. Both sides had minor chances in the final 20 minutes but the score line would hold for a 2-0 victory for Republic FC.
“It’s important when you’re not at your very best that you find a way to win the game,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We got in great positions. We need more and the players know that.”
Scoring Summary: SRFC – Trevin Caesar (Sammy Ochoa) 16, Tyler Blackwood (Sammy Ochoa) 60
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Chris Christian (caution) 46, Harrison Heath (caution) 56, Sammy Ochoa (caution) 69; SEA – Ray Saari (caution) 49, Jackson Ragen (caution) 71, Francisco Narbón (caution) 90.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Sam Fowler, Khai Brisco, Sam Rogers, Jackson Ragen, Brian Nana-Sinkam, Ray Saari, Lorenzo Ramos (Francisco Narbón 60), David Olsen, Azriel Gonzalez (Guy Serge Edoa 44), Shandon Hopeau (Charles Renken 55), Irvin Parra.
Subs Not Used: Marvin Kasim III, Javorn Stevens, Christian Koontz, Dylan Teves.
Stats: Shots: 14, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 8, Fouls: 21, Corner Kicks: 7, Offside: 2.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton, Elliott Hord, Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta, James Kiffe, Jeremy Hall, Harrison Heath (Agustin Cazarez 79), Tyler Blackwood, Wilson Kneeshaw (Christian Chaney 64), Sammy Ochoa, Trevin Caesar (Daniel Trickett-Smith 56).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Peter McGlynn, Harry Williams, Gabe Gissie.
Stats: Shots: 18, Shots on Goal: 10, Saves: 3, Fouls: 15, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 1.